Prentice “lies” again

Lyn Prentice has posted an attack on Cameron Slater at The Standard – The bad blogger, which is in response to a Whale Oil post I’m alive and have something to share.

He makes some fair points, Slater does seem to be playing the sympathy card in a legal defence fundraising drive.

But there’s dark irony as well.

He has been willing to lie and walk over the legal bounds that govern everyone in this society in the process. That isn’t the actions of a responsible blogger or “journalist”. It is the behaviour of someone that I don’t want besmirching the reputation of blogging.

Prentice is not the best example of blogger reputation himself. Like Slater he often brags about being nasty, and he abuses and bullies and fosters a bullying and abusive environment at The Standard (while Slater has actually clamped down on abuse at Whale Oil).

And Prentice appears willing to lie, or at least repeat claims that have been frequently refuted and for which he has provided no evidence.

He is quoted in a Stuff article Should Left-wing bloggers just shut up?

“Unlike Slater’s or Farrar’s professional efforts on behalf of National, we don’t get paid either directly or indirectly for our volunteering to work for politicians or writing blogs and never have,” Prentice says.

“We” presumably meaning all the Standard authors. There have been claims, including by John Key and Labour member Josie Pagani, that Labour staff have had posts at The Standard. In fact the other Standard trustee (prentice is one of two) was employed in the Labour leader’s office as recently as last year.

Slater has responded to this accusation, repeating denials that Whale Oil is funded by National.

Nice of Lynn Prentice to defame me again, this time in a major publication. I have not ever, nor will I never take money from the National party. There is not a professional relationship with them, their never has been.

But that just suits Prentice’s narrative. Unfortunately for him I will start telling the truth about him as frequently as he tells lies about me. The “World’s Greatest Sys-Op” isn’t so clean either. Prentice himself wouldn’t know the first thing about serving an audience, he allows defamations to stand, if it is against an enemy, he allows hate and loathing to cloud his better judgement and he is precisely what he accuses me of being. He really should look in the mirror.

David Farrar has also denied any party funding of Kiwiblog. He provides a detailed disclosure statement (unlike Prentice or any Standard author).

Prentice will be well aware of previous denials but continues to make the assertions. Dirty is as dirty does.

Having just written that last senence I thought I’d research it – and coincidentally found a post heading that on Whale Oil.

Dirty is as dirty does

Nicky Hager reckons I play politics dirty.

He is right, I do….So what?

Slater has often bragged about doing politics dirty. While he claims to be clean in some ways Prentice is no better.

On Hager and “Dirty Politics and dirty politics

This follows the previous post On Slater and dirty politics and “Dirty Politics”

Was the hacking of Cameron Slater’s personal data a reactive attack on Slater by one individual that happened to uncover information that happened to make it’s way into Hager’s possession that was a useful coincidence as it supported an ongoing issue of interest to Hager?

Or was Hager a tool used by a black ops campaign by political operators to discredit Slater and bring down the Key Government?

How much was Nicky Hager a participant and how much was he a pawn?

It’s interesting to see a sequence of events as described by Hager in the preface to his book “Dirty Politics”.

  • Dirty Politics follows my earlier book, The Hollow Men, which told the story of the National Party from 2003 to 2006 under the former leader Don Brash. This sequel describes the years of John Key’s leadership between 2008 and 2014.

The Hollow Men doesn’t tell “the story of the National Party”, it tells a small part of the story based, coincidentally, on leaked or hacked information from Don Brash’s office. Dirty Politics does not describe “the years of John Key’s leadership”, it tries to make a story out of hacked personal communications of a small group of people.

The Hollow Men played a part in ending Don Brash’s leadership. Fran O’Sullivan wrote about the police investigation of the source data for the book.

It now seems abundantly clear Quinn’s pursuit of Hager’s sources was little more than a polite run around the traps. But the police had no qualms about obtaining a search warrant for the Herald on Sunday offices to try to get hold of a tape recording of the exclusive interview celebrity sports journalist Tony Veitch gave to its star columnist shortly after his bashing scandal became public.

Or about trying to force TV3 news host John Campbell into revealing the identity of the exclusive source on the theft of Victoria Cross medals from the army museum.

Harry Quinn resorted to neither measure. Bizarre really – police use the full extent of the law to retrieve information from professional journalists. But a political activist is a no-go zone.

This is frankly unacceptable in a democratic system where authorities like the police should be expected to get to the bottom of what was obviously a politically motivated burglary.

While the way the Brash data became available has not been proven it’s of note that some claims are that it was a politically motivated burglary.

Dirty Politics being a sequel suggests that it wasn’t a one off reporting of hacked data, it was a continuation of an ongoing anti-National campaign.

  • The origins of this book can be traced to a political event in October 2013, when extremely personal details of Auckland mayor Len Brown’s sexual affairs were published on the right wing blog site, Whale Oil.

The timing of those revelations seem to have been to try and overturn the result of the mayoral election.

Ironically Hager wrote “it became clear the exposé had been arranged by his political enemies to try and push him out of office and replace him with their own mayoral candidate”. Hager timed his book this year to try to push John Key out of Government.

  • In January of the following year (2014) I travelled to Dunedin for a conference, where I met a series of people who raised their concern about Cameron Slater, the Whale Oil blogger and son of a former National party president.

Hager was a keynote speaker at Surveillance, Copyright, Privacy: The End of the Open Internet. Conference Jan 30 – Feb 1, 2014 at Otago University.

Across the Internet, immense changes are affecting ordinary users with urgent implications both worldwide and locally. New Zealand has been the test case for changing practices surrounding copyright, surveillance, sovereignty and privacy.

The conference is designed to create an engaged, cross-disciplinary and critical dialogue regarding the intensification of control and policing of internet usage, including both commercial activity and democratic participation in New Zealand.

Amongst other things it coincidentally looked at online privacy.

Another keynote speaker was Vikram Kumar, who had been CEO of Kim Dotcom’s Mega company but just prior to the conference became Chief Executive of Dotcom’s new Internet Party. Dotcom and Slater had had a long running feud.

  • The third experience that led me to investigate Whale Oil and the growth of attack politics was an account I heard at a meeting in a major news organisation. The point of the meeting had been to discuss Slater and whether news resources should be allocated to scrutinising his activities. According to one of the people present, however, senior staff began expressing their fears about attracting attacks from Slater on themselves and their organisation. By the end of the meeting they had decided to do nothing.

That a major news organisation would not investigate someone for a “fears about attracting attacks” seems bizarre, and if true it is somewhat eyebrow raising.

According the above conference bio of Hager is “a regular contributor to the New Zealand newspaper Sunday Star-Times”. Slater has had ongoing battles with media, especially with NZ Herald and senior journalist there David Fisher.

  • Finally, in this same period, Slater hit the news after making yet another personal attack. A young West Coast man named Judd Hall had died when the car in which he was a passenger crashed off the road. Slater copied a newspaper article on his blog and casually headed it with “Feral died in Greymouth, did the world a favour”.
    More than any single thing Slater had written, it provoked a furious public reaction.

The sequence in Hager’s preface implies this followed the latter two of the previous events. He doesn’t date his media meeting.

But Slater’s “feral” attack was on Saturday 25th January, the week before the Otago conference. Hager doesn’t say it but surely it was a part of his discussions there.

Hager then writes:

This time, apparently, as part of the angry backlash to his West Coast comments, hackers targeted him. A ‘denial of service’ attack was launched against his blog site, overloading his server and shutting down his website for three days. It appears that online hackers also gained access to his computer. Thus an insensitive comment about a car accident victim may have led to the long-held secrets being revealed about Slater and his political collaborators: right up to the level of senior government ministers.

It’s possible a nasty attack by Slater provoked a spontaneous denial of service attack to cover a hack of his data (apparently one commonly goes with the other). The attack began about two days after Slater initiated the outrage.

It seemed odd at the time that an obviously angry group of people on the West Coast would launch an unprecedented denial of service and hack attack on a blog site.

After getting Whale Oil back online on January 30 Slater wrote:

What was then unleashed was literally hundreds of death threats and a social media bullying campaign. Ironically their behaviour online proved conclusively that there is a serious problem on the West Coast with a feral underclass.

What I said may have been offensive, but that is not illegal. What is illegal is issuing death threats and threats to rape my daughter. Furthermore a DDoS attack was also set upon my site in an effort to silence me. Whether or not it was connected to feral outrage remains to be seen.

Yes, whether or not it was connected to the outrage remains to be seen.

It seems more credible to assume that it was a cover to launch a previously planned attack and hack by someone or some people.

  • Some weeks later, out of the blue, I received a package: an 8 gigabyte USB digital storage device, the contents of which appeared to have originated from the attack on Slater’s website. On the USB were thousands of documents that revealed different parts of the National Party attack politics, a subject that until then had largely been a matter of speculation and denial.
    This was very different from my usual sources – I have not used this type of source before – but I believe not a single major news organisation in the country would turn down such fascinating and important material. Supplemented by National Party sources, it has allowed stories to be told that the public has a right to know.
    I had no part in obtaining the material and cannot say anything else about it’s origin.

The hacker Rawshark chose to release more hacked information after the book release, first via Twitter (@Whaledump) and then via major news organisations, including the Sunday Star Times and NZ Herald.

I have no reason to doubt Hager’s claim he played no direct part in hacking the data.

But some of Hager’s claims here are contradictory. In the preface ot his book he says “Some weeks later, out of the blue, I received a package: an 8 gigabyte USB digital storage device, the contents of which appeared to have originated from the attack on Slater’s website. ”

But David Fisher at NZ Herald quoted Hager in August:

“I heard a rumour about someone who had some stuff,” says Hager, whose books on spies have generated contacts in IT circles. “He already had a plan in his mind to set up a Twitter account and splash it all out there.”

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 doesn’t sound anything like “out of the blue”.

Hager wrote:

Thus the National Government had the political advantages both of the friendly face and the attack machine. Naturally this would not work if people could see both, so considerable effort went into hiding and denying these activities.

There seems to also be a lot of hiding and denying of things with Hager’s “Dirty Politics”.

But not everyone remains silent. Two days before the launch of Hager’s book left wing activist, blogger and big noter Martyn Bradbury posted:

Here are my 3 guesses on his book.

1 – Right wing spin doctors in Wellington will be crying harder than Matthew Hooton post the Hollow Men.
2 – We won’t hear from the Taxpayer Union for a while.
3 – This won’t be the only time Nicky makes an impact before the election.

When his “guesses” were queried he responded on Twitter:

pfft – Nicky contacted me months ago asking specific questions which helped my guesses – the lesson is read TDB

So Hager was researching amongst left wing activists, as Lyn Prentice has also admitted an involvement.

Perhaps if Hager had interviewed a few people, instead of just writing a book of one-sided allegations ABOUT them, based on STOLEN e mails, and published at a slightly less cynical time than a few weeks before the election, he might not be in this position today?

[lprent: Based on reading the blog posts of the various people that were referred to in the emails passed to him. You really can’t get much more independent that the actual actions of arseholes.

Plus doing a pretty widespread verification among many people who read those blogs and keep an eye on Slater, Odgen, Farrar, Ede, and others of that dirty brigade. Like me and the score of people that I pointed to and introduced to Hagers people.

Why would you ask Slater? He is currently saying that yes he made those statements in those emails, but that he was lying and bullshitting. What makes you think that he wouldn’t lie or bullshit to a journo or for that matter the police or a judge?]

“Like me and the score of people that I pointed to and introduced to Hagers people.”

Prentice has openly feuded with Slater. He is not an unbiased observer – in fact he seems to be claiming to be very involved in Hager’s book. Again here he admits being a party to the investigation:

There was extensive checking done before the publication of the book. I helped with putting people in contact with other people. We’d long known what kinds of things were going on. We had just never had any proof of how much of an arsehole that Cameron Slater and his friends were.

It just wasn’t done with the arsehole perpetrators. That was because they already had a port of redress if the material was wrong. The courts.

Is that what you are offended by. That the arseholes of the local blogs and their puppet masters in National and corporates weren’t warned?

Idiot. If Cameron Slater or Odger or Ede or anyone else wants to challenge the veracity of the emails and the conclusions of the book, then all they have to do is to use the courts. It is called a defamation suit.

You’d have to note that they don’t appear to be using it?

Of course they will then be up for cross examination and discovery motions. I can understand why that isn’t something that they want to face.

Obviously Hager wouldn’t work alone on this. He claims he discussed accessing the data for weeks with “the hacker”. Prentice claims to have played a significant part, along with others – “We’d long known what kinds of things were going on. We had just never had any proof .”

Who is “we”.

How much has Hager driven this? He has had an obvious interest in exposing National tactics for more than a decade.

Was the attack and hack a spontaneous reaction or a planned illegal action?

The identity of Rawshark is of obvious interest, but it’s reasonable to be suspicious of who else was involved.

Many people bore grudges against Slater – not surprising considering his mode of dirty politics – and there were obvious interests in defeating Key and National. There have been many comments online alluding to using any means that would be justified in achieving this.

Hager claimed that “a very high public interest” justified overriding “everyone has the right to keep their communications private”.

The election result suggests that Hager and others may have confused “very high left wing interest in defeating Key” with “very high public interest”.

Political activists often incorrectly presume their strong opinions and aims must be shared by most people so achieving those aims by any means is justified.

After the Left’s election disaster some activists bitterly criticised voters for getting things wrong and for being traitors.

There seems to be much more to this story than one civic minded journalist who chanced upon some evidence that happened to support a long running ant-National campaign.

It will be interesting to see what else is revealed over the next few months. Revelations are promised.

This leads into the next post, the third of three on this. Will “Dirty Politics be uncovered?

Hide versus Hager, and poxy houses

Rodney Hide speaks some truths about the “speaking truth to power” of Nicky Hager and the supporters that think Hager can do no wrong.

To the anointed left, Hager is an investigative journalist. He is good and true. Blogger Cameron Slater is a smear merchant and paid shill. He is evil and false.

That’s how it appears. To an extent it’s true, Hager is an investigative journalist at times – but so is Slater (at times). And both sometimes speak “truth”, but they also both speak falsely at times, despite claims from some that Hager has never been proven incorrect.

An anonymous hacker stole Slater’s emails and Facebook messages.

Hager then published them in Dirty Politics to implicate Prime Minister John Key in dark and evil plots. The links were tenuous at best.

Some have taken Hager’s claims against John Key and National as gospel but they are tenuous and have not proven much apart from the nastiness of Slater and associates – which was already known.

I warranted a brief chapter myself. Hager alleges Slater blackmailed me to resign the Act Party leadership. It’s not true.

The first I knew of any allegation or blackmail was Hager’s book.

Hager never rang to check his allegations. He published them without a rudimentary check. Left-wing commentator Chris Trotter publicly defended Hager’s not checking his allegations. That would alert those he maligned who might then injunct his book. And so Hager denied his victims the usual rights and legal protections.

Hager made allegations which Hide has strongly denied. Hager didn’t fact check, he made a case without checking both sides of the story. At best that’s sloppy journalism.

The extreme left has no problem with that. The anointed have no need for legal process. They have no need to provide rights of reply. They have no need to check facts. They are right. The rest of us are wrong.

To an extent at least that appears to be true, you just have to read threads at The Standard and Public Address to see this.

Hager pored through stolen private and personal information. There were emails to the wife. Messages about a sick and dying mum.

Hager then decided what was public interest and published it. We do not know what became of what he regarded as personal and private.

To me, it’s clear a crime was committed. Slater duly complained.

The police are investigating. In the course of their investigation they convinced a judge to grant a warrant to search Hager’s house.

The search was subject to the law. It was authorised. Hager’s personal information is to be protected. It won’t be made public.

Presumably the raid on Hager’s house was done correctly and lawfully, but there remain questions about whether it was on a scale that was justified.

Any alleged wrongdoing will have to be backed by evidence to be tested in court.

Those alleged to have done wrong will be presumed innocent. They will have their day in court.

Yes – but police action can have a major effect on their targets, including legal costs and in this case the confiscation of computers and information that Hager requires to do his work can be significant.

If only Hager’s victims had been afforded such rights.

Of course, there’s no need: his victims are made guilty by their politics.

Slater’s computer was ransacked. Information was taken. The hack was illegal, furtive and anonymous.

Hager then published the stolen information, wrapped his own story around it, and gave no right of reply.

Hager tried to convict Slater, John Key and associates in the court of public opinion. He failed to do what journalists are usually expected to do – allow those being accused to give their side of the story.

It has been claimed that this was necessary so those being accused wouldn’t injunct Hager’s book.

Journalists don’t usually package a grand conspiracy claim in a book and inject it into an election campaign. Journalists should normally check both sides of a story, give a right of response and publish revelations as they come to hand. Then there can be immediate reactions and follow up additions, corrections and counter-claims.

Journalism doesn’t start and end with a one-sided book that it’s supporters claim is beyond reproach.

Hager raised some important issues in his book, but it was not good journalism, it looks more like political activism.

His evidence was never checked or tested.

That’s not true.

Martyn Bradbury claims to have been interviewed while the book was being written. Bradbury is a far left activist and an adversary of Slater.

Lyn Prentice is a left wing activist and a long time strong critic of Slater. He claims to have been involved in researching the book. He sponded to a comment by RRM at The Standard:

Big old BS – the e mails were STOLEN, it is as simple as that.

Political-type people will make of that what they will.

Perhaps if Hager had interviewed a few people, instead of just writing a book of one-sided allegations ABOUT them, based on STOLEN e mails, and published at a slightly less cynical time than a few weeks before the election, he might not be in this position today?

[lprent: Based on reading the blog posts of the various people that were referred to in the emails passed to him. You really can’t get much more independent that the actual actions of arseholes.

Plus doing a pretty widespread verification among many people who read those blogs and keep an eye on Slater, Odgen, Farrar, Ede, and others of that dirty brigade. Like me and the score of people that I pointed to and introduced to Hagers people.

Why would you ask Slater? He is currently saying that yes he made those statements in those emails, but that he was lying and bullshitting. What makes you think that he wouldn’t lie or bullshit to a journo or for that matter the police or a judge?]

Hager appears to have got “verification” from “various people” who were the political opposite of Slater and had been feuding bitterly with Slater for years.

Hide concludes:

But that’s okay. That’s because those he attacked have their politics wrong.

What’s not okay is the police investigating the crime and exercising a lawful warrant.

As far as the extreme left is concerned, Slater has no rights and Hager enjoys super ones.

And they wonder why we laugh at them.

I don’t laugh at them. I think it’s a sad reflection on politics and those involved at the extremes.

Has Hager used the left in a major political hit job? Or has he been used by the left? Possibly a bit of both.

Some of the revelations in Hager’s book bring attention to the very sad side of Slater, Whale Oil et al. But the nature of the book and it’s political one-sidedness and it’s attempt to bring down a government doesn’t look flash either.

Hager’s hit job was a poor advertisement for both political activism and for journalism.

All their houses look poxy.

Standard revulsion, repulsion and expulsion

Blog mirroring party – Labour leadership and party in turmoil, and the two trustees at The Standard spatting openly as well, with  Standard revulsion, repulsion and expulsion following.

A guest post by Fleur – A paean about Grant Robertson – was given some unwelcoming treatment by boss bully boy Lyn Prentice (lprent) – he abuses and/or bans anyone attacking authors, usually, unless it’s him doing the attacking.

I’d point out that Fleur wasn’t responsible for the Title, front page Excerpt, front page Featured image, or the cartoon of Grant Robertson in the post. So don’t give her a hard time about them. She just wrote the post body.

The others came from my cynicism when reading the body. Call it an aged Labour member having looked at something like 12 Labour leaders and their youthful supporters. Besides it is a good reminder to people posting that if they don’t put provide these things in then I might add them as I put them up :twisted:

The Webb cartoon is just there because it is a great image. It sets the standard for subsequent posts to have ones as well.

If you don’t know what a Paean is, then I’d suggest that you need to rectify your knowledge of ancient Greek culture.

Co-trustee Mike Smith, a different far more reasonable character altogether, pointed out the obvious:

As an even more aged Labour member I think we should treat our guests better than this – let them have their own say. And I know what a paean is

I’m on Mike’s (and others) side on that one, the disarray in Labour has gone to lprent’s head.

The usual ‘double Standard’ on display:lprent:

…Cunliffe’s challenge of Shearer…

Sounds like another moron using the Chris Hipkins myth from 2012. I have had people confidentially asserting that there is a lot of evidence supporting that particular assertion Cunliffe was planning a coup. I have yet to see anyone producing any evidence then or later that there was one.

I think that it was some idiots in caucus lying to media after they got upset about members voting in the leadership voting rule changes. Why were they idiots? Because it pissed off damn near everyone who was at that conference trying to get the change through and many of those opposing it.

So this is a friendly warning, If you want to use it, then produce something substantive to back it. Otherwise I’ll start treating you like I would any other troll when I get around to moderating.

boyonlaptop:

That is a tremendous double standard.
If you demand sources for one claim in these comments you should for all claims and quite frankly if you want to moderate comments like mine but ignore “It was Grant’s crew that rolled Shearer” than you’re just openly displaying your bias towards Cunliffe and your complete disregard for any dissenting opinion. Especially when I acknowledged that caucus comments about Cunliffe holiday were stupid.

Especially if you leave disgusting ones like this, “How elitist you are. What you call ‘homophobia’ is actually far more common than you wish, and it’s one of the reasons why Robertson would be a disaster. Homosexuals are intrinsically untrustworthy, as aside from anything else, they have their own brand of nepotism – and the general public tend to not like that” untouched. Quite frankly if that’s the moderating standard you operate on I have no desire to comment further on the Standard.

The “Homosexuals are intrinsically untrustworthy” comment was made by Deb Kean. It wasn’t moderated but two moderators/authors reacted:

Stephanie Rodgers: That’s a really horrible statement, Deb. There’s plenty to criticise each of the leadership candidates for without that kind of bigotry.

Karol: Deb has been expressing homophobic hate forever, as far as I’m aware. No reasoning with her changes that. I’ve tried in the past – she hasn’t been around here much in the past year.

New commenters at The Standard are being dissed just for being new commenters – a standard practice to drive away unwelcome opinion. For example:

Don’t believe everything you read from the National Party’s Research Unit – or are you just a Nat troll.

Not agreeing with the entrenched activists doesn’t help of course.

‘red blooded’:

Well, I’m not new. I have been roundly abused many times for questioning what I see as group-think, though. In fact, Lprent told me yesterday that I am an idiot and must have been in nappies in the Clark years. (I have a Masters in Political Science and have been an activist since the Muldoon years.)

What’s my point? It can be very intimidating to raise your head and question the general flow of discussion on TS. It can be simplistic and over-hyped, but it’s not easy to point that out to people who only want to hear from those echoing exactly their viewpoint. I find it refreshing to see a different viewpoint being discussed seriously and think it’s great to hear from some new voices. Labour (& the left more generally) clearly need to do some fresh thinking and hear from a new generation of commentators. renewal doesn’t occur just within a closed group.

lprent:

Read the policy. The place is set up for “robust debate” and that means you will get called names. The standard that is used about abuse that it is not allowed to be “pointless abuse”. So if you don’t like something then say why. If you think someone is being an idiot then say so and why. Just be careful about doing it for the authors of a post.

If you want nice pleasant and superficially congenial debate then go to Public Address.

There are right-wingers who survive easily around here. You just have to stop being so damn precious.

It really really pays to read the about/policy of any site you comment on. That is how you avoid the common pitfalls.

If you really don’t like it, then start your own site and attract your own audience.

red blooded:

Absolutely. That doesn’t make it wrong to look at the pluses and minuses of each candidate, though. We should be respectful if each other and of the candidates, but it’s still refreshing to see some positive discourse about someone other than Cunliffe on this site.

[lprent: Perhaps you should look back over the posts for the last 60 posts (there are about 30 per top page) back to a few days after the election and point to any egregious numbers of posts for Cunliffe? I just did, and essentially it is a list of the announcements and events as the leadership challenge unfolded. Basically the authors are leaning over backwards to try to be reasonably balanced at present.

Commenters are a different story of course. But they aren’t the people running the site.

Similarly the moderators are in charge of behaviour on this site. Not a random commenter. We really don’t like stuck up dickheads trying to tell us how we should run the site.

Go and read the policy. You’ll have time to do so as you’re banned for 2 weeks for stupidity and wasting my time checking. ]

That’s a blog that complains about dirty politics.

red blooded had also said:

I see Grant Robertson as likeable and articulate. He’s certainly Labour through and through. While he’s personally ambitious, that’s also true of Cunliffe. Some here are accusing him of not fully backing the elected leader: I would say,
1) He gave his all to the last campaign, and 2) if we’re honest, Cunliffe was less than fully supportive of Shearer.

I didn’t vote for Robertson last time, mostly because of concerns about lack of Ministetial experience (although he has plenty of policy and admin experience). I might this time, mostly because I think Cunliffe has shown himself to be deeply flawed as a leader (especially in his actions and comments since the awful election result). I’d still like a 3rd choice, though…

Prentice left that comment, presumably because it would look too obvious, but waits until what looks like a very reasonable comment and bans. Standard practice.

The Standard leans heavily towards Cunliffe so it’s inevitable that Robertson supporters will get the usual treatment, revulsion repulsion and expulsion.

A party that desperately needs some major repairs and rebuilding is poorly served by a blog that promotes the worst of Labour.

The desperation of political sockpuppets

Political bloggers push stories, they speculate, they try to score hits against their opponents. Some of them make things up – they lie.

Naitional linked blogs Whale Oil and Kiwiblog are major players.

Yesterday David Farrar posted Are Labour planning smear campaign on Shane Jones?

This is very unusual. Whale blogs about a poll being done, presumably on behalf of Labour, asking if people’s view of Shane Jones was:

  • Shane Jones delivered amusing one liners but his political career was accident prone and did not amount to much. The most attention he got was for using his parliamentary credit card to pay for pornographic movies.
  • Shane Jones was one of the few politicians who tells it like it is and with his attacks on Countdown has been the most effective Labour politician this year. He will be a huge loss to Labour especially amongst Maori and blue collar voters.

If the polling was being done for a media client, then the question would be sensible – it would be for a story on the impact of Shane Jones. But presumably the poll is on behalf of Labour (as was being done by their normal polling company) and the question is why would you poll on Shane Jones…

It’s easy to make the presumptions made here. UMR is Labour’s usual polling company and it’s a Labour related poll question. but it seems very unlikely it was Labour, as pointed out in UMR poll on Jones not Labour.

Farrar did some research, possibly taking Russell Brown’s word for it but he may also have checked through polling company contacts (he is a pollster and runs polling company Curia). He appended his post.

UPDATE: I’m told from a very reliable source that in this case Labour is not responsible for this question. So it will be fascinating to discover who is, if it ever comes out.

Later in the day Farrar put up another post at Kiwiblog – Is this photoshopped? This showed a photo of David Cunliffe at a rally at Parliament. While the photo did look unnatural the implication that Cunliffe had not actually been at the rally was lame. Farrar again updated:

UPDATE: Have had confirmed that was at the rally. So the image may be touched up, but is genuine.

This isn’t unusual. It’s common for bloggers to float ideas without full details or evidence, often to initiate discussion and try to flush out more information – sort of crowd-sourced story development.

Farrar can be provocative and devious – note his masthead statement: “DPF’s Kiwiblog – fomenting happy mischief since 2003”.  He is also relatively open about his interests in About Kiwiblog which includes disclosure statement is here.

He sometimes oversteps, notably with an attempted hit job on Winston Peters just before the 2011 election. But as he said on Facebook yesterday “Umm, everyone knows my viewpoint”. If they don’t know they can easily find out.

Later yesterday Farrar and Whale Oil’s Cameron Slater were blasted by their main opposition in the blogosphere, The Standard. The iron fist behind The Standard, lprent (Lyn Prentice) posted The desperation of the National’s sockpuppets.

National Party pollster David Farrar must be seeing some numbers he really doesn’t like because he is claiming that David Cunliffe photoshopped himself into a rally that he was really at! Yeah right – a doyen of the local net governing body failed to use google before making a complete dick of himself on the net. I expect we will see a lot more of National’s paid for bloggers acting like fools heading into this election because National only being good at putting us heavily into debt (again!) rather limits the good news they can write.

There are a number of ironies in Prentice’s post and comments. Desperation comes to mind, as does sockpuppet. Pot/kettle stuff. In the thread Prentice says…

As you might have picked up, I am pretty pissed off about the lying that showed up today at the sewer. It is stupid, shallow, and something that needs quashing as a political technique.

However I am pretty sure that it is simple to make up such mischief. Farrar will make quite a good target between now and the election. With a bit of luck we can see if he appreciates the attention enough to donate me some discovery time.

Threats of a blogger war, one way at least. In the post…

This looks like another odd attempt to smear a man that the Nats are clearly worried about. It looks David Farrar finally realised how much of a dickhead he looks as he goes from this incorrect assertion (ie a lie) with a touch of plausible deniability.

Irony keywords: smear, worried, dickhead, incorrect assertion.

And on to a series of justification about why he David Farrar really is not just a petty dipshit putting out this kind of nonsense and never bothering to check it. I guess he is trying to remember the glory days when he was the single big voice in the local blogs and could lie like this for his paymasters with relative impunity.

He pushes the paymaster/sockpuppet theme strongly.

But even weirder (as usual) is the under-employed Cameron Slater, a blogger with no visible means of support and with lots of friends in the Prime Minsters office, posting creepy, paparazzi style pictures of David Cunliffe eating his lunch at parliament.

This picture was prominent on The Standard yesterday:

The question one has to ask is from whom did the bloated moron get this photo from? John Key our Minister for Photo-ops or his personal blogmeister Jason Ede perhaps?

And accusations of the Prime Minister’s office being involved in it all.  More pot/kettle.

The previous day The Standard ran a Q&A for David Cunliffe. When someone said “@ Lynn – thanks for organising this” he responded:

I didn’t. The request came from Cunliffe’s staff. They did most of the work.

I just went to work early so I could go home early to moderate.

And Prentice often brags, like yesterday:

I’d also point out that I spent several decades in volunteer work working for and with Helen Clark across 7 elections (whilst usually in disagreement with her) so I have a fairly good idea what is required for the task.

But you only find out about things like this if you see them in the comments. The Standard has very vague and misleading disclosures. From ‘About’:

We write here in our personal capacities and the opinions that are expressed on the blog are individual unless expressly stated otherwise (see the policy). We do not write on behalf of any organization.

The Standard doesn’t disclose it’s own connections and it protects it’s authors’ anonymity – Prentice says they are not anonymous because he knows their identity, but most of the authors’ identities are either not publicly disclosed or are vigorously protected. Attempts to speculate on identities is discouraged with threats of bans – threats and bans are the standard way of discouraging questioning anything to do with authors.

Apart from Prentice who are the authors? They state:

Why don’t you say who you are?

Some of the authors here use their real names, but others choose to blog anonymously for a variety of reasons. Some of us have professional reasons for doing so, others of us are reluctant to expose ourselves to the kind of personal threats sometimes made online.

While there is no formal disclosure some details about authors have dribbled out over time.

Mike Smith is Prentice’s co-trustee of The Standard. Until recently he worked in David Shearer’s leader’s office.

mickysavage (Greg Presland) is closely associated with David Cunliffe via his New Lynn electorate committee and recently became known as the lawyer behind Cunliffe’s secret donations trust.

Ben Clark stood for Labour last election and is the brother of MP David Clark.

Stephanie Rodgers is “a member of the Ohariu LEC and campaign team I’m obviously very biased, but Ginny is a fabulous candidate and a wonderful person.”

Geoff has started to post and you can get an idea of where he’s coming from in Judith vs John and Moving Collins On.

Bunji is relatively mild but does his bit for the team. See John Key challenged!

Zetetic is unlikely to have been used by Trevor Mallard as some have alleged but has  fairly obvious intent. See Cabinet Club.

The ‘Eddie’ handle seems to be in remission at the moment but had strong hints of various internal hands.

Karol is currently the odd one out claiming to be a Green supporter.

James Henderson seems to have retired from The Standard but had close Green connections (which may have turned red again).

And the author messages are not to be messed with. Criticising authors is severely frowned on, proving them wrong usually invites wrath commonly leads to being banned.

Prentice illustrates this in his latest thread.

[lprent: That may be your opinion – and I’d say that it is impossible to tell. Go and raise your pet lies, assertions and conspiracies on your own post on your own blog or comment in Open Mike. Don’t do it on mine, they really are just a diversion troll.

My post is almost entirely about David Farrar and Cameron Slater being a complete dickheads stalking Cunliffe with silly picture posts. ]

‘Diversion troll’ is Lyn-speak for questioning his bull and bluster.

But the post isn’t about the image it is about Farrar and the bloated moron being dickhead stalkers. So this is your warning. Try Open Mike for conspiracy theories.. or return to the banned… ]

Lyn is the only one who can refer to images apparently.

[lprent: I didn’t say that you did. I said that David Farrar did? Is this a sockpuppet? But you didn’t heed my warnings about what I the author considered this post to be about. Do not repeat the offense for which you got warned – banned 2 months. That is one fast way to de-amnesty yourself. ]

Lyn-speak translated means that if you say something they don’t want said you will be banned.

[deleted]

[lprent: Banned 4 weeks. ]

That one may have been fair enough.

As the most widely-read and influential leftwing blog in New Zealand, The Standard is a great platform to get yourself heard.

Only if you toe the line and are accepted as one of the comrades.

But there has been a significant change of tone at The Standard over the last few weeks. The resident trolls are protected from this sort of moderation for obvious reasons, anyone deemed a threat to Labour can be freely attacked, abused and harassed.

Some trolls are specialists at trying to initiate bans on people they decide are not welcome. They frequently make things up (lie). And the end game is for Prentice to use an excuse to ban them.

When Prentice posts about sockpuppets and desperation wry and black comedy (inadvertent) come to mind. There’s plenty of same old, but it seems to be deteriorating into sad farce. Debate on the left is dire.

The abuse will continue until the disillusioned absentee voters return to Labour. /wry

Labour’s self laid GCSB minefield

Labour may have created huge problems for themselves should they lead the next Government. They chose to take a political approach to the GCSB bill rather than follow the convention of cross-party cooperation with legislation on national security.

They have promised to dump the new bill and base any replacement law on an inquiry.

The current law is not much different to the previous 2003 act put in place and used by Helen Clark’s government. If Labour lead government again after next year’s election they will either have to stick with something similar to what we have now, and similar to what was supported by all major parties over the last decade, or they will have to make radical changes to how we use the GCSB and SIS.

The latter is the expectation of many activists on the left. There are calls (from a minority) to dump the GCSB altogether.

Lyn Prentice at The Standard:

This Act has a short lifetime.

I think that we should have a serious look at killing the GCSB at the same time. Throughout this debate I haven’t heard of *anyone* giving some coherent reasons for the retention of their excessive budget or what return we have or are likely to get from it.

Not a single person. All you ever get is fear mongering without any detail. Looks to me like it is an arm of the US intelligence community. Time for it to depart for another country and stop distorting our laws.

Prentice is a long time Labour and Clark supporter but has vowed to vote Green next year. In the same thread he describes The Standard:

The site isn’t a democracy, it is an anarchical cooperative.

The Standard has been prominent in it’s involvement in opposing and undermining David Shearer (by some authors and most commenters).

And on the left wing activist Daily Blog Martyn Bradbury tries to rally ongoing action in The GCSB Bill has passed – if you refuse to accept that, here’s what I think we should do next :

1: Repeal the Bill at the 2014 election:
Call upon every opposition MP to signal before the 2014 election if they will vote to repeal the legislation. Every week until the election the Blogs will post up the names of all those opposition MPs who will repeal the legislation and all those who won’t. We will advise people not to vote for those opposition MPs who will not repeal the Bill. Take the public Town Hall speaking tour around the main cities and provinces in the lead up to the election culminating in Auckland in the week of the election.

This is a part of Bradbury’s grand campaign plan – he’s a paid adviser for the Mana Party. If he gets enough support for this agenda Mana may increase their vote, but that’s most likely to be at the expense of Labour’s vote.

If successful this could cripple Labour and drag it left, something Bradbury and Mana may like, but they won’t be so keen on the fact that it may make a Labour led government unelectable.

‘Bomber’ Bradbury seems intent on blowing up Labour in next year’s election.

It’s worth noting here a Fairfax/IPSOS poll result from yesterday:

53.6% said they trusted the Government to protect their right to privacy whilst maintaining national security.

If Labour survive the election blast they then have to try and cobble together a coalition with Greens and Mana, who both oppose the bill and oppose the GCSB. That could result in some fiery negotiations.

If Greens and Mana (and perhaps NZ First) manage to agree to coalition deals that survive this then Labour’s promised inquiry (unless they simply let the inquiry in 2015 required by the new law) could be a political minefield.

If the inquiry recommends retaining the GCSB and SIS similar to how they are now would Labour have to get support from National to fulfil their promises? It’s hard to see Greens and Mana voting for it, that would blow up those parties.

And Labour can’t hope that the GCSB will just fade away from public interest. The new legislation requires a 2015 inquiry, so if they do nothing else about the GCSB that will come up anyway.

Labour chose what they thought was a populist political approach to the bill that has just been passed.

It’s hard to see them winning a popularity contest over this over the next two years. They have turned their backs on the half of the voters who support GCSB security. And they will find it very difficult to please the hard left.

Labour seem to be caught in a minefield laid by their own strange strategies.

Lowering The Standard

‘Eddie’ at The Standard goes to more depths of political hypiocrisy and cynical racial stirring with Key gets what he wants at Waitangi.

But Key was working on a plan – to stoke up racial dissent at home.

That’s a claim for which you can have no evidence so can be seen as a speculative attack – are you trying to use Waitangi Day to stoke up more of a racial divide?

These people may not be racists themselves but they’re perfectly willing to use racism to win power.

Who’s trying to win power with this post? Using racism.

Is this the sort of thing Fran O’Sullivan was referring to when she wrote this?
“Most posters won’t sign their names to their comments because they are frightened they will be held responsible. They are frankly cowards.”

And the inevitable response:

[lprent: Do you want me to write a post on the subject? While I am at it write one entitled “United Future and it’s fools”. Frankly Fran and you are just talking crap. There is nothing that prevents anyone from writing these posts that just join the dots. You should know – the crap you wrote on your blog and here is full of it. Whaleoil just makes crap up. Live with it.

But don’t attack authors. There wasn’t anything in your comment about the topic. It was a straight attack on Eddie. Banned for 4 weeks. ]

It wasn’t an attack on ‘Eddie’, I don’t know who ‘Eddie’ is, nor what party (or union) ‘Eddie may be associated with. For all I know ‘Eddie’ could be a committee.

I  referred to direct quotes from ‘Eddie’ so the claim that it was nothing about the topic is ludicrous.This is a standard hypocritical response from commenters – and chief moderator – at The Standard where they don’t address the issues being debated, they simply attack the messenger, and threaten and censor by banning.

lprent isn’t anonymous, but the way he uses his power to censor, ban and abuse is as cowardly as anything that goes on at The Standard.

Go ahead and write a post Lyn, it will be quite one-sided now you have banned me. It will thrill your fans. And show you for what you are to anyone else. You can stop people commenting, but you can’t stop people seeing how you operate.