UK & Europe

Topics about the UK, EU and Europe.


BBC: Russian arrested in Spain ‘over US election hacking’

Spanish police have arrested a Russian programmer for alleged involvement in “hacking” the US election, Spanish press reports have said.

Pyotr Levashov, arrested on 7 April in Barcelona, has now been remanded in custody.

A “legal source” also told the AFP news agency that Mr Levashov was the subject of an extradition request by the US.

El Confidencial, a Spanish news website, has said that Mr Levashov’s arrest warrant was issued by US authorities over suspected “hacking” that helped Donald Trump’s campaign.

Mr Levashov’s wife Maria also told Russian broadcaster RT that the arrest was made in connection with such allegations.

Several cybersecurity experts, including Brian Krebs, have also linked Mr Levashov to a Russian spam kingpin, who uses the alias Peter Severa.


Dotcom – Trump

refers to CNN (from last September): Is Trump right? Could a 400-pound couch potato have hacked the DNC?

Russia might be behind the hack of the Democratic National Committee, according to US officials and lawmakers — but not Donald Trump.

The Republican presidential nominee came up with many alternative possibilities at the first general election debate on Monday night.

“It could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people,” he said during the first presidential debate. “It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds.”

(400 pounds = 181 kilograms)

So a monster bed potato, not a couch potato.



I can’t find that on Twitter now, but Dotcom has tweeted since:


Bizarre. How would Dotcom know this?

Why are Dotcom and Wikileaks so keen to help Trump?

I don’t trust US spying but I wouldn’t put much faith in those who think Trump can fix it all. Or are Trump and Assange more interested in getting onside with Trump so he will help them?


“The wrong hacker”

Spanish Bride (Edit: I originally refereed to Cameron Slater as the author, not noticing the post was under his wife’s name, but that makes little difference) had posted about and assured he had information about the hack (‘Rawshark’) and had promised to reveal all, but was apparently holding back due to the police investigation into the hack.

The police investigation, which resulted in the raid on Nicky Hager and the seizing of his computers and data, now seems to be at an end.

Today Slater has posted some specific allegations and a fairly obvious implication:

Looks Like Team Hager hired the wrong hacker

In an attempt to subvert an election a hacker was hired. He did what he was paid to do, handed over an edited selection as told to by his mega pay master to Nicky Hager and the rest is history.

But Slater has provided no details. I have seen no evidence of any of those claims.

Can we assume from this he has no evidence and is either guessing or simply making things up?

It wouldn’t be surprising, he and some of his associates have a record of making  accusations but failing to front up with any credible evidence.

Dunne, Hager, Westpac and ‘greater good’

Peter Dunne’s weekly blog post looks at the issue if Westpac giving Nicky Hager’s banking data to the Police when they were investigating Rawshark – Dunne Speaks: Westpac’s Strike Against Personal Privacy.

In it he says:

The Westpac case is a good example of what happens when either systems fail, or more likely, the people operating them seek to make a moral judgement about the worth of the information they hold and how it might contribute to what they see as a greater good.

While is fair to question Westpac’s willingness to hand over data without a court order the Privacy Act may allow for what they did.

And Dunne raises an interesting issue.

Westpac may have justified handing over the data for ‘greater good’.

There are many claims that Hager wrote up and published the Cameron Slater data that seems to have been unquestionably illegal obtained by the hacker, whoever that was, and in fact Hager may have received stolen property and made a pecuniary gain through his actions. Some of his supporters claim a ‘greater good’ or public interest defence.

So how do these two actions compare.?

‘These “hackers” and cyber terrorists are scum’

While the current hacking discussion continues who would say something like this?

These “hackers” and cyber terrorists are scum.  They are breaking the law. There are no “hacktivists”, just idiots that make other people’s lives and businesses hell because they are basically standing in the way of freedom. Freedom to move about on the Internet as you please, freedom of speech, freedom of association.

We’re in an interesting time in history where police are simply not equipped to deal with these levels of attacks.  But the GCSB can’t be the organisation that combats this.  The problems will only get worse, and we need to have a way for police to constructively deal with these kinds of crimes.

Instead of being the enemy, as “investigative Herald journalist” Nicky Hager and his friends Dotcom, Harre, “Tainted” Fisher, Nippert and Snowden would have it, the GCSB are actually here to protect those of us who are law abiding and believe in the rule of law.

It could be a genuine crusader for better online and political standards.

Or a dirty hypocrite. About the ‘freedom of speech’ at least.


And on that post is this comment:

Leaking is part of the game. WOBH benefits.

Now, someone at WOBH telling tales out of school would be fine. (it isn’t, but you know what I mean). But the fact we’re as tight as a drum on the staff front means they had to break in and take stuff.

Still silence on Rachinger at WOBH.

That’s the bit that’s both flattering and extremely annoying.

I’ve seen it as a mark of respect that they needed to break the law to get a hit on.

I wish they wouldn’t. But I can tell you this much. The WOBH/Dirty Politics project involved crime. It wasn’t the first time “that side” have resorted to it, and it won’t be the last.

We’ll get done over again. It’s the only way they think they can hurt us.

In the end, it hurt PEOPLE. But none permanently. And WOBH only grew stronger because of it.

What blogger would go around hurting PEOPLE? Yeah, right.

Slater claims detailed evidence on hacking

Cameron Slater has been gradually hinting at what evidence he has about who hacked him and who was involved in the wider campaign against him using the hacked information.

In a post today warning Andrew Little – Little clutching at straws, the reckoning is coming – he expands on his claims.

Little can take this a warning and he can either use this productively or ignore it. I don’t care which.

But there is to be a reckoning soon and unlike Nicky Hager I am going to give each left-wing activist, blogger and politician involved the chance to put their side of the story. They will get a chance to try to to explain away the hard documentary evidence that I will present.

The funny thing is, this week I outlined just the tip of the iceberg, and many of the players who are implicated in the conspiracy have remained resolutely and uncharacteristically silent. They know now that I know what they did. Bluster and bravado has been abandoned, they are now skulking hoping I don’t have the goods.

Then we will see who was really the ones playing dirty politics…and I wonder perhaps if those seeking to ban, silence or indeed get me to commit suicide will then mount the same sorts of campaigns against their team that they did to me.

Then again some of them will likely be charged with criminal acts, others will be politically destroyed and the rest will be shamed.

We are going to find out the real dirty politics, and the period of phoney war that will now ensue will be a chance for those involved to come forward and save themselves. Some already have, they have ratted out their mates because of the serious lapse of ethics and criminality…those people have integrity. Who else is going to come forward now?

I know all the players, I know how much the hacker was paid, I know who was on the hack team, and who was on the team assessing and disseminating the illegally obtained information. I’ve recorded all their actions during the attack, I’ve taken a record of their public statements and their claims of assaults on democracy and I am going to feed those words back at them together with their actions and documents and proof of those actions.

The moment of reckoning is almost upon us…and it will be done at the time of my choosing. Unlike Dotcom’s failed and fraudulent “Moment of Truth” this reveal will actually take political heads.

Those who know me, know that I don’t accuse people of things unless I have the proof.

Slater threatened to turn the election on it’s head promsing to make damaging revelations but didn’t deliver.

He keeps upping expectations that he’s got something big on the hacking, and it will be damaging for a number of people associated with blogs and political parties. He has suggested the Labour leader chief of staff Matt McCarften was involved.

His credibility has been severely dented. Time will tell whether he fronts up with compelling evidence on the hacking or not.

Gander sauce all over Winstons’ face

Winston Peters, like Russel Norman, is suggesting the police raid John Key’s house. 3 News reports Winston, Norman: Raid Key’s house over hacker claim

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters and Green Party co-leader Russel Norman think police should raid Mr Key’s house and office if he claims to know who the hacker is.

“[Mr Key] says he’s not actually certain – another brain-fade. If you do know conclusively, you should say so, but he says he doesn’t know,” Mr Peters says.

Peters should be wary of bringing brain fades into the discussion, he’s not exactly as sharp as he once was.

It’s nothing like a brain fade to say that you are not certain whether something you have been told is correct or not.

Peters may think that rumours he’s told are sufficient to try and wreck political careers but many of his attacks are far from conclusive. Most seem to be little more than hot air.

Asked if police should search Mr Key’s property he replied: “What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, isn’t it?”.

If the police searched a politician’s property every time they made a hearsay claim they would virtually have to live with Peters.

He’s probably made more unsubstantiated claims – trying to discredit and destroy careers – than all other current MPs put together.

There is gander sauce all over Winston’ face.

Is Norman too close to the hacking, to the hacker and to Hager?

Russel Norman’s persistence in trying to hammer John Key over “Dirty Politics” seems to be adversely affecting his judgement.

Norman has suggested that the police should raid John Key’s house because Key has admitted being provided with a possible identity of the hacker ‘Rawshark’. NZ Herald report in John Key won’t reveal Rawshark’s name:

‘If this is the Prime Minister now saying that he thinks he knows who Rawshark is the question for the police is why aren’t they raiding his house?

“The police spent 10 hours going through Nicky Hager’s house because Nicky Hager supposedly knows who Rawshark is, well the Prime Minister is now on the public record saying he knows who Rawshark is. I would expect the police to be consistent and even handed and to raid the Prime Minister’s house and his office to find out who Mr Key thinks Rawshark is.”

This is a bizarre suggestion. What if Norman knew the hacker’s identity – should his house be raided?

I would expect the police to be consistent and even handed and to raid the Prime Minister’s house and his office” – if a Green MP’s home or office was raided by the police I suspect Norman would have a very different attitude.

Apart from the political implications it’s absurd to think that Key would have evidence of the identity in his home or office.

Key said ““Someone phoned and told me who the hacker was” – so if the police wanted to investigate that they would presumably look for phone records from telecommunication companies. It would be very unlikely there would be evidence in Key’s home or any of his offices.

Norman has also made some erroneous assertions.

“The police spent 10 hours going through Nicky Hager’s house” – this is a common claim. As far as I’m aware ten hours elapsed between the police arriving at Hager’s house and them leaving. Some of the time in between was spent talking with Hager, lawyers and superiors by phone, and waiting for responses. I don’t know of any facts about how long the searching took.

“Nicky Hager supposedly knows who Rawshark is” – because he has described in some detail his contact with the hacker, as reported by David Fisher at NZ Herald in August:

Hager says he spent weeks talking the person into letting him see the material and use it to build the narrative which became Dirty Politics. The hacker, says Hager, gave him everything. “I’ve seen everything. I’m 100 per cent sure.” The hacker then expressed a desire to keep back some material for himself. “We kind of negotiated how much,” he says. “I said ‘can I have all the political stuff’.” Hager got what he asked for and so, the book was written.

That’s a lot more involved than being told a name.

Ok, I presume Norman doesn’t seriously think that the police should raid Key over this.

But Norman has been increasingly looking obsessed over nailing John Key over “Dirty Politics”. His frustration at not scoring any significant hits seems to be affecting his judgement.

This abnormal Norman nonsense adversely affects the credibility of Green Party leadership and of the campaign Hager and his associates is trying to wage against Key.

How close is Norman to the hacking, to the hacker and to Hager?

That’s not for the police to investigate, but perhaps some journalists should be curious. Norman’s abnormal nonsense raises suspicions.

It may be nothing more than hope there is something in it to finally knock Key of his Prime Ministerial perch, but it seems to be clouding Norman’s judgement.

More on Key and ‘Rawshark’

It was revealed yesterday in the release of a new chapter in John Key’s biography that John Key had been told of the identity of the hacker “Rawshark’. NZ Herald reported John Key ‘given Rawshark’s name’

In a new chapter in John Key: Portrait of a Prime Minister, devoted to this year’s election campaign, Mr Key is quoted as saying: “Someone phoned and told me who the hacker was, but other than having a look at this person, I thought, ‘Oh well … nothing will come of it. Life goes on’.”

Mr Key did not divulge the name of the person to the biography’s author, senior Herald editorial writer John Roughan. Asked yesterday whether the PM had referred the name to the police investigation into the stolen emails, a spokeswoman for Mr Key said that though he believed he knew who the hacker was, “he cannot be certain”.

Key has been asked if he will reveal the identity. He won’t. A follow up Herald report – John Key won’t reveal Rawshark’s name

The Prime Minister John Key says he won’t reveal the name given to him as the identity of the hacker known as Rawshark, and won’t pass it on to police.

“In the end if the individual who told me wants to tell the police they are welcome to do that,” Mr Key said at a media conference today.

“I could spend my life worrying about people who undertake activities to try to discredit the government but at the end of the day it doesn’t take you anywhere.”

Asked whether he thought the police should be focused on investigating potential identities of Rawshark rather than investigating journalist behind the “Dirty Politics” book, Nicky Hager, Mr Key said: “That’s a matter for them…they run their own inquiries.”

There are quite a few people who have been closer to the action than Key who could probably help the police identify Rawshark. There have been rumours since before the election that they know who it is.

Whoever revealed the identity to Key should have also advised the police to help them with their inquiries.

As Key acknowledged, he “can’t be certain”, there is no guarantee that the person identified to Key was the hacker.