Rachinger convicted and discharged

Ben Rachinger has been found guilty of obtaining by deception and discharged, in the case involving Cameron Slater an attempted hack of The Standard blog.

Rachinger had entered a guilty plea last year and was trying to get a discharge without conviction but now has a fraud conviction.

Suggested on Whale Oil last December “So yes, I think a short custodial sentence is appropriate” so they didn’t get what they wanted either. With Slater getting a discharge without conviction after diversion any penalty for Rachinger would have been a travesty.

Newshub: Former Whale Oil associate Ben Rachinger convicted and discharged

A hacker who was hired by right-wing blogger Cameron Slater to infiltrate a left-wing blog site has been convicted and discharged.

In December, IT consultant Ben Rachinger pleaded guilty to obtaining by deception after he was paid $1000 by Mr Slater to hack into The Standard, with the aim of embarrassing the Labour Party.

Mr Slater admitted his part in the plot and was discharged without conviction in May 2016.

Newshub in December 2016: Slater-hired hacker pleads guilty to fraud

A hacker who was hired by blogger Cameron Slater to infiltrate a left-wing blog site has pleaded guilty to fraud in the Manukau District Court.

IT consultant Ben Rachinger, 28, was hired by Mr Slater to hack into left-wing website The Standard, with the aim of embarrassing the Labour Party.

Mr Rachinger was paid $1000 by Mr Slater, but never carried out the hack they discussed. Instead he blew the whistle to TV3’s The Nation, telling the programme he was asked by Mr Slater to figure out who The Standard’s contributors were and record their IP and email addresses.

Police alleged Mr Rachinger never intended to follow through with the promise he made to Slater. He was charged with obtaining $1000 by deception for saying he could and would hack the site.

Slater made a complaint to the police, which led to the charge.

A summary of facts shows Mr Slater believed Labour politicians were writing for The Standard and posting their views anonymously online.

He offered Rachinger $5000 – paying him $1000 up front – believing the hack on The Standard’s servers would uncover evidence of links to Labour.

Mr Slater admitted his part in the plot and was discharged without conviction in May.

As part of his legal deal Slater needed to admit guilt, but in posts on Whale Oil afterwards sounded far from contrite

Somehow, the media are still saying Cam ordered the hack.  Well, if that was even remotely true, then I don’t understand how stupid he was by asking the police to get involved and asking Ben to share his discoveries with police.  That clearly shows Cam had no intent to do anything stupid.

More details from last year: Slater’s statement on Rachinger looks dirty and Slater versus Rachinger.

Rachinger got embroiled in dirty dealings and has paid for it with a conviction, albeit with no other penalty. Newshub said “he’s looking forward to the chance to put the matter behind him”. Lesson learnt hopefully.

Slater managed to avoid conviction, but his reputation took a further hit and he exposed his hypocrisy on political hacking and his inclination towards dirty politics and retribution.

 

‘Maxwell’ versus Rachinger

A comment appeared here in the middle of the night which, due to some unsubstantiated claims and some familiar flags hasn’t been released from moderation, but it raises some points about Ben Rachinger that I don’t think should be suppressed.

‘Maxwell’ wrote:

This kid is still wasting everyone’s time with his delusional thoughts of grandeur – he’s tweeted/deleted too many lies, befriended/backstabbed too many people, been caught in his own lies way too many times…

The court action isn’t Rachinger’s choice, Slater made the complaint to police that led to yesterday’s court appearance and guilty plea – which avoids a five day trial.

This may have had some validity a year or two ago, they are certainly common criticisms of Rachinger from certain people in the past – but dredging them up when there is no sign of any of this now seems irrelevant and petty – or targeting something.

Yet, in the face of all this – he’s continued to the bitter end, and, yet again, like clockwork, instead of delivering another much promised ground-breaking revelation (he claimed for months he will reveal a bombshell at trial) – we get another whimper of another failed Rachinger fantasy – Guilty…….after all this crap fighting the system & getting compensation – in his own twitter words; “You will never understand the meaning and importance of freedom until you are fighting to keep it.” – https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0833a8faf3ac607b4f104877c596275baa812bbe83cf9368f360af69f5c00f61.png

Some contradictions there, not the least being the reference to bitter.

And as much as .Maxwell’ may like, this isn’t the end of it. That may be why the attempts to discredit continue, but that may reflect more on the attacker than the target.

Speaking of twitter…

Unsubtantiated claims deleted.

His LinkedIn profile..

Pointless attack.

Ben Rachinger is a pretender, a fake, [deleted], a nobody trying to be somebody – his biggest achievement is nothing.

So why all this attention? If he had done nothing nobody would care – or comment.

Rachinger has exposed Slater further, hence the ongoing attacks at Whale Oil.

There might be one or two others worried about exposure. Why else would he not be ignored?

No meaningful contribution to humanity, just a waste of time & hate to go with the name Ben Rachinger – will he finally understand?

Rachinger made things difficult for himself, but ‘Maxwell’ seems to be more in the ‘waste of time’ and hate camp here (hate is something I haven’t seen expressed by Rachinger).

I don’t think so, my comment will fall on his deaf ears.

Seems to be an attacking and threatening sort of comment ‘Maxwell’, trying to discredit Rachinger and is if you’re trying to warn him off. Off what?

Given the degree of Maxwell’s bitterness this doesn’t look like the end.

Slater versus Rachinger

This is a follow-up from Rachinger pleads guilty.

Yesterday Rachinger pleaded guilty to obtaining $1000 by deception – Cameron Slater paid him to hack The Standard with the intent of embarrassing the blog as well as Andrew Little and the Labour Party. Rachinger didn’t provide any hacked information to Slater, hence the charge.

That on it’s own is bizarre – Rachinger was charged for not carrying out an illegal act.

Rachinger outed himself online in revealing what he had done (and not done) with Slater.

This lead to charges being filed against Slater for soliciting the hack. Slater obtained suppression, but this was lifted when it was revealed that Slater had been granted diversion to avoid going to trial.

See NZ Herald: Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater admits soliciting hack

Whale Oil’s Cameron Slater has been granted diversion by police for attempting to hire Ben Rachinger for $5000 to get into the left-wing “The Standard” blog. Instead of being convicted and sentenced, he has arranged to do 40 hours work for the children’s charity Kidscan.

Judge Richard McIlraith said: “He has accepted his guilt and embarked upon a programme of diversion to address that.”

Following that Slater published a number of posts at Whale Oil effectively giving the finger to the Court and to what he had said to get diversion, claiming he was an innocent victim of Rachinger’s actions.

Somehow, the media are still saying Cam ordered the hack.  Well, if that was even remotely true, then I don’t understand how stupid he was by asking the police to get involved and asking Ben to share his discoveries with police.  That clearly shows Cam had no intent to do anything stupid.

To the contrary, it made Slater look very stupid, as do the denials he did anything wrong despite accepting guilt in order to get diversion (which was controversial due to previous convictions).

Slater had retaliated against Rachinger by making a complaint to the police, which led to yesterday’s court appearance. Newshub reported:

Mr Rachinger was paid $1000 by Mr Slater, but never carried out the hack they discussed. Instead he blew the whistle to TV3’s The Nation, telling the programme he was asked by Mr Slater to figure out who The Standard’s contributors were and record their IP and email addresses.

Police alleged Mr Rachinger never intended to follow through with the promise he made to Slater. He was charged with obtaining $1000 by deception for saying he could and would hack the site.

A summary of facts shows Mr Slater believed Labour politicians were writing for The Standard and posting their views anonymously online.

He offered Rachinger $5000 – paying him $1000 up front – believing the hack on The Standard’s servers would uncover evidence of links to Labour.

Mr Rachinger is also seeking a discharge without conviction, and told Newshub outside court he’s looking forward to the chance to put the matter behind him.

http://www.newshub.co.nz/nznews/slater-hired-hacker-pleads-guilty-to-fraud-2016121211

Slater and associates have responded to this with two posts at Whale Oil (so far, yesterday). This again portrays Slater as a victim vindicated by Rachinger’s plea. It includes large dollops of what Slater would refer to if someone else was doing it as ‘explaining is losing’.

The conclusion of a victory speech:

With your help, we have stood up against these people trying to take Whaleoil down.  And this is also why it is so important we have your financial support.   They wrote a book about us. Labour bet a whole election on us.  They tried to take us down via vexatious court procedures.  And Ben Rachinger has failed too.

Cam is still here.  You are still here.  Whaleoil is still here.

That drips with hypocrisy, given that Slater tried to have The Standard hacked to try to take it down and to try to take Andrew Little and Labour down. That’s how he plays politics, dirty – and then when found out he cries victim.

Oddly…

There are suppression orders in place on this appearance as well, which makes it difficult to freely discuss the situation without running into further trouble – the last thing we want to do.   As a result, the comments on this post will be disabled.  I don’t want any of you to accidentally get yourself, or by extension, us, in trouble.

Both posts had comments disabled, but one post under ‘Whale Oil Staff’ and the other under ‘Cameron Slater’ allowed themselves to fairly free discuss their one side of the story which include claims contradicted by court reports.

The total blackout on comments suggests an avoidance of having anyone point out the stupidity and hypocrisy of their slants. Their final comment:

So yes, I think a short custodial sentence is appropriate.  He’s wasted so much of everyone’s time!

Slater got away with nothing but embarrassment and some community service, but wants Rachinger locked up for sucking him in and then exposing him.

This is not the first time Slater has been involved in retaliation to the extent of wanting people locked up for being exposed and embarrassed. I can think of several examples of this, including  me being the target.

That’s has Slater played, dirty and vindictively, and it appears that this behaviour is continuing.

Rachinger has made mistakes and done some silly things, and has copped a charge for outing himself over this. Slater didn’t make a complaint until it went public.

Rachinger says he has addressed personal issues and I’ve seen no sign of his previous erratic behaviour, so he appears to have sorted some of his stuff out.

Slater seems to have learned nothing and continues with the same old, big on attacks but whining and playing the victim when things go bad.

And Whale Oil and Slater seem oblivious to the self-inflicted damage they do  through their posts – every time they attack Rachinger, and there has been a lot of that, they expose themselves some more.

Rachinger seems to be wisely staying quiet about yesterday’s court appearance given that sentencing is not until March, and courts tend to prefer things they are dealing with aren’t played out in public. I hope he has learnt from his experiences.

If Slater ever finds himself in court again what he has put on public record over this could come back to haunt him. His obsessions with winning and whining with as much publicity as he can get may not always work in his favour.

Slater may think that his ‘giving back double’ against Rachinger is a warning to anyone not to mess with him.

But it is also a warning about Slater’s habit of lashing out when things don’t go his way – he has become politically toxic, which he is busy reminding everyone about with his bitter attacks on Bill English and National, multiple times a day.

He’s not making much headway even against the Whale Oil commenting community, which may be why they have not risked any comments on his Rachinger posts.

Rachinger pleads guilty

Ben Rachinger was due to start a scheduled five day trial today in the Slater/Standard hacking case, but has instead entered a guilty plea.

Stuff: Former Whale Oil associate Ben Rachinger admits deception charge

Benjamin Rachinger, 28, appeared in the Manukau District Court on Monday for what was supposed to be his judge-alone trial on a charge of obtaining money from Slater.

Instead Rachinger pleaded guilty to the charge and a sentencing date was set for March next year.

Earlier this year Slater completed diversion after admitting he hired Rachinger, an IT worker, to break into The Standard blog site.

No hack actually took place.

The charges against the pair came after Rachinger made public claims in January 2015 that he had been paid to hack The Standard, sparking a police investigation.

The sentencing will be interesting. Rachinger had claimed he had been also acting as a police informant. Slater was controversially granted diversion for the part he played in this despite previous convictions.

Lynn Prentice has posted on this prior to the guilty plea: Whaleoil and Rachinger – the final chapter starts

UPDATE:More details from Newshub: Slater-hired hacker pleads guilty to fraud (it wasn’t fraud, it was ‘obtaining be deception’).

IT consultant Ben Rachinger, 28, was hired by Mr Slater to hack into left-wing website The Standard, with the aim of embarrassing the Labour Party.

Mr Rachinger was paid $1000 by Mr Slater, but never carried out the hack they discussed. Instead he blew the whistle to TV3’s The Nation, telling the programme he was asked by Mr Slater to figure out who The Standard’s contributors were and record their IP and email addresses.

Police alleged Mr Rachinger never intended to follow through with the promise he made to Slater. He was charged with obtaining $1000 by deception for saying he could and would hack the site.

A summary of facts shows Mr Slater believed Labour politicians were writing for The Standard and posting their views anonymously online.

He offered Rachinger $5000 – paying him $1000 up front – believing the hack on The Standard’s servers would uncover evidence of links to Labour.

Mr Slater admitted his part in the plot and was discharged without conviction in May.

Mr Rachinger is also seeking a discharge without conviction, and told Newshub outside court he’s looking forward to the chance to put the matter behind him.

http://www.newshub.co.nz/nznews/slater-hired-hacker-pleads-guilty-to-fraud-2016121211

 

 

Who funded the non hack?

Questions are being asked about who the funder was for the fee to be paid for the attempt by Cameron Slater to hack The Standard.

I understand that in his police statement Slater claimed there was no funder.

But in his Media Statement from Cameron Slater on Benjamin Rachinger and the hack of The Standard that never actually happened Slater states:

Ben wanted $5,000 for what he described as The Standard data he held.  That’s not the sort of money I have access to at the drop of a hat, especially as Ben had been regularly requesting and receiving a living wage from me already.  I needed to organise a sponsor to assist.

A sponsor sounds like a funder.

David Fisher in Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater admits soliciting hack

Documents presented to the court by Rachinger claimed Slater wanted “to use hacked information from the website The Standard on behalf of a funder to embarrass the Leader of the Opposition and Head of the Labour Party, Andrew Little, on the first day of Parliament sitting in 2015”.

In his statement today Slater said:

I’m going to make a number of factual statements today in this release, and I am going to write a number of articles that will delve into some of the detail of what has developed.

I wonder if he will set the record straight on who provided the funds.

And was he given the whole $5,000? It is alleged that Rachinger only received $1,000.

 

Slater on the Standard hack

Suppression lapsed today at 4 pm on the case of Cameron Slater paying Ben Rachinger to hack The Standard.

Irony abounds, not the least of which being Slater’s attempt to get permanent suppression despite campaigning against suppression and having been convicted on 9 charges of breaching suppression (2010).

On top of this Slater appears to have breached his own suppression, as his media statement appeared on Lauda Finem overnight with a stated post time:

by Cameron Slater on May 9, 2016 at 9:52pm

This post was pulled after several hours. This indicates that Slater still has an association with LF, and unlike Bradley Ambrose who yesterday requested LF correct false information about him and was point blank refused Slater seems to have been able to get a whole post pulled.

Slater then posted this statement on Whale Oil at 4 pm when the suppression lapsed.

MEDIA STATEMENT FROM CAMERON SLATER ON BENJAMIN RACHINGER AND THE HACK OF THE STANDARD THAT NEVER ACTUALLY HAPPENED

Even the headline seems to make a mockery of the judge’s statement in his judgment, paragraph :

He has accepted his guilt and embarked on a programme to address that.

He has candidly acknowledged his mistakes that he has made and he wishes to put those behind him.

I do not doubt the genuineness of that position.

Slater seems to be ignoring all that as a court convenience.

He writes:

Today, with the lifting of the Police-requested and Court-ordered suppression…

The Police requested interim suppression to assist with a fair trial (that didn’t happen due to diversion),but when Slater sought permanent suppression “the position of the police is that it is neutral on suppression” .

Judgment [6]: Accordingly, before me is an application from Mr Slater yo a s 200 of ther Criminal Procedure Act 2011 for ongoing and permanent suppression…

I’m going to make a number of factual statements today in this release, and I am going to write a number of articles that will delve into some of the detail of what has developed.

So, probably ignoring his diversion obligations.

His statement  looks to have a number of ’embellishments’ as well.

As we know now, nothing that happened under the guise of what has now become known as Dirty Politics broke any laws.  People may not like the tactics, but there was nothing to charge anyone over.  Nothing.  Not just me.  Anyone.

To get diversion you have to admit guilt of the charge. the judge stated “He has accepted his guilt” – of the charge of “counselling and/or attempting to procure Mr Rachinger to access the computer system of The Standard website to obtain property or a benefit, namely computer files (ss 249(2)a and 311, Crimes Act 19621).

In other words, he has admitted breaking the law, he convinced the judge he genuinely accepted his guilt, but now implies no laws were broken (albeit misleadingly with Dirty Politics).

We all know about the game of Politics, but following a criminal attempt to subvert an election, to have certain elements in media use their employers’ and private resources to attempt to destroy me, my family, my friends and colleagues was a whole new low.

More “poor me the victim” per Dirty Politics.

Slater admitted guilt on trying criminally to destroy Andrew little and Labour and Lynn Prentice and The Standard.

It is with this back story that I was isolated, angry and deeply resentful at the hypocrisy of media who were on the one hand claiming all the rights, protections and expectations of being journalists for themselves and Mr Hager, but none of those applied to me only because I was and remain a commercial threat and am deeply disliked for being effective at what I do.

Trying to justify his actions as an understandable reaction to pressure.

Additionally, I was and remain intensely resentful of the usual commentators on the left and in the media that had made it their personal project to destroy me – professionally and personally.

So instead of being remorseful he is on the attack.

He goes on at length, then concludes:

Today, a new chapter starts.  A chapter where I start fighting back in public, rather than continue to suffer the uncontested lies perpetrated by my political opponents and aided and abetted by personally motivated, well resourced and complicit media.

My first article on what happened will be published on whaleoil.co.nz later today.

And there seems to be at least some orchestration of comments on his post.

It sounds like he has learnt nothing and once out of the court is trying to continue with more guns blazing.

 

Media on Slater Standard hack

Today suppression (that despite what he says on his media statement he wanted made permanent) lapsed on the case of Cameron Slater paying Ben Rachinger to hack The Standard to try and identify Labour MPs and staffers who were allegedly authors there.

Slater aimed to embarrass Andrew Little and Labour on the opening day of Parliament, 2015.

Media reports:

Newshub: Whale Oil blogger revealed as man behind hack plot

Newshub can reveal controversial right-wing blogger Cameron Slater was at the centre of a plot to hack political website The Standard.

His motivation was to embarrass and undermine Labour leader Andrew Little by unmasking anonymous contributors to the site he claimed were connected to the party.

Slater, who writes the Whale Oil blog, was charged with attempting to procure access to a computer system for a dishonest purpose on December 17 last year. However, court orders prevented the media revealing his identity, detailing the exact charge against him or naming the website involved.

The Standard: The plot to hack The Standard

They quote Newshub but have separate have an active comments.

The Spinoff: Cameron Slater, fearless crusader against name suppression, just had his name suppression lifted

This afternoon, Cameron Slater’s name suppression was lifted in a case regarding his conspiring to hack The Standard website. To mark the occasion, here are some of the fearless Whaleoil blogger’s previous posts about name suppression.

It’s like 10,000 Whales when all you need is a knife. However Alanis would have styled it, today is a day for irony.

For today is the day when we can finally report that Cameron Slater, arch defender of open justice,has failed in his attempt to get permanent name suppression, after accepting diversion for charges that he tried to get a small-time hacker to pry open a left-wing website.

Slater features in comments

NZ Herald: Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater admits soliciting hack

The blogger who was infamously hacked and then exposed in Dirty Politics has himself admitted hiring someone to illegally access the computer files of opponents.

Whale Oil’s Cameron Slater has been granted diversion by police for attempting to hire Ben Rachinger for $5000 to get into the left-wing “The Standard” blog. Instead of being convicted and sentenced, he has arranged to do 40 hours work for the children’s charity Kidscan.

Judge Richard McIlraith said: “He has accepted his guilt and embarked upon a programme of diversion to address that.”

Slater’s actions today suggest that he barely accepts his guilt, if at all, and has embarked on a programme that probably is contrary to what he committed to with diversion. He is trying to minimise his culpability and is actively attacking Rachinger and media online.

See next post (when it’s up).

 

Statement from Ben Rachinger

Ben Rachinger has asked me to post this statement:

Good Morning YourNZers,

I am aware that in the last 24 hours many statements and posts have been published about issues that cannot be legally be published. I will issue a statement at 4pm here today in response.

My thanks to Mr George for having me here on this blog and to the good people I have met through here. Free Speech is important to me and this blog is a bastion of Free Speech.

I can’t and won’t tolerate any attempt to break the law in comments here. Please wait until Ben is able to legally put forward his side of the story before jumping to judgement.

As most people won’t know what can be legally discussed if in doubt leave it out, there will be ample opportunity later today.

I don’t necessarily agree with or disagree with Ben’s’s position or opinion on this. I am providing a forum for him to make a statement.

As per usual robust debate and valid criticism is welcome here, but personal attacks and abuse and attempts to discredit or defame are not acceptable and will be dealt to appropriately.

UPDATE: Ben has advised that for logistical reasons his statement won’t be available until after 6 pm

 
If you are interested check out NewsHub at 6 pm.
 
If you want to ask Ben questions he will endeavour to answer them here when he can after 6 pm.

Rachinger public apology

Ben Rachinger has been pressed to at least apologise for sending pictures of a journalist that ended up being published by Lauda Finem.

He responded on this on Your NZ yesterday:

I’ve already acknowledged to JW as much as I can say. I don’t see that relitigating it in public for white knights helps her. She can raise the issue in public as she sees fit.

Insofar as Slater received the pictures and forwarded them to Lauda Finem?

That’s a whole basket of can’t comment. For obvious and very good reasons. A lot of people have been up to some very dodgy stuff. In some cases, criminal.

What I’m supposed to have done is unethical but not illegal. What Slater has allegedly done?

That’s definitely criminal 🙂

Thanks

This morning in what appear to be authentic tweets:

Unconditionally apologise to for sending pictures to who then sent them to . Worst thing I’ve ever done

I have no excuses for what is extremely shithouse and immoral behaviour. I can only make amends by writing and by taking Slater down.

Would like to say that my ex had no knowledge of any of pics. She’s her own person. We don’t speak anymore. Onwards to literary infamy! 🙂

Ben has said he is writing a book.

He can confirm if these tweets are from him but to me it looks authentic.

 

Ben Rachinger speaks again

Ben rachinger has kept popping up from time to time thrioughtout the year. He popped up here in Whale Oil jumping the Rawshark yesterday

This prompted quite a bit of reaction and discussion. Some tried to discredit Ben, some tried to shut him up, while some tried to push him into revealing things he was unwilling to talk about. Some did all three in various ways.

Here are some of the things Ben wanted to talk about.

I am not Rawshark. Always wanted to be an independent investigative journalist and to an extent I’ve done some good digging in all this. However I’m a young guy with my own upbringing and shortcomings. Those have long been on display.

The reason I’m here on this site now commenting is that I believe if you are going to be politically tribal, you police your own. Rawshark et al should be policed by their own – that didn’t happen. Slater et al should have been policed by their own – that didn’t happen.

So where does this leave us? It boggles the mind.

And:

Due to the nature of the digital skills of the hacker we can only really find out the identity of the hacker from Mr Hager. Hager has stated he met the hacker and knows his identity. No amount of digging can provide info that isn’t there. Whether I was right or not with my initial musings means little.

This is really internecine political warfare writ large. I’ve done my time on both the Left and the Right. Neither is truly for the people in my opinion. So possibly what needs to happen is the writing of a book/story that is balanced and shines the light on all the players involved.

And:

For myself, my ‘Moment of Truth’ was when Hager didn’t provide the details on the journalists who had been working with Mr Slater. To decide that one is a god, in a way, and to control the destiny of the media or a political faction is something that no one person should ever aspire to or want.

That’s the root problem here. Each side has, in their own and distinct ways, tried to play God with our system of governance. The clusterfuck that this represents, in that no side is clean or clear, has only exacerbated the general publics dislike of the political scene.

That is the issue. Instead of a new flag? We should look at what our democracy really is. Who we vote for. How they work. What tactics they use. Examination of their agendas and motives is both enlightening and disheartening. Because truly, we have no champions. Just bad and worse self-styled ‘liberators’.

And:

I’m of the opinion that the identity of RS is a straw man for all of us. We are missing the point. The point is A) whom was involved in the hack and for what motives.. And B) Do we want what Mr Slater is alleged to have done with XYZ people to go unchallenged? I’m of the mind that both are important points but very difficult to balance in your mind unless you’re independent. Mr Hager will end up naming Rawshark or he won’t. But his relationship with Rawshark and the how/why/where and whom is not my story to tell.

Ben has had a chequered short history online but I think there’s some important issues raised here that haven’t been given enough attention, in particular the abuse of power, the abuse of democracy, and the abuse of journalism.

Please in comments stick to the issues raised in these comments, peripheral issues have had plenty of airing on other threads.