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Nats’ dirty tricks exposed?

Written By: - Date published: 10:00 am, September 16th, 2008 - 53 comments
Categories: blogs, election 2008, Media, national - Tags:

Cameron Slater, aka Whaleoil, is a nasty piece of work. If you’re a leftie and you get into the media, he’ll dig whatever dirt he can find on you from the ‘net and what he can’t find he’ll make up in an attempt to intimidate you and others into silence. But the intertubes flow both ways and Robinsod has been doing some digging of his own on Whaleoil and his even more dodgy co-blogger, Steady Eddy.

It’s well-worth reading ‘Sod’s full post. He seems to have identified a seriously dodgy chain linking National and Whaleoil’s disgusting attacks. ‘Sod promises to reveal the identity of the National staffer who blogs as Steady Eddy on Wednesday.

I’m sure all those who went into spasms over a former Young Labour member doing a web prank will be eager to see what he has to say about National’s involvement in dirty tactics.

53 comments on “Nats’ dirty tricks exposed?”

  1. burt 1

    So when Steady Eddy gets outted you anon folk here at the 9th floor standard will be wondering if you are next.

    When it comes to outting people – be careful what you ask for.

    IrishBill says: Is that a threat, Burt? Take a week off.

  2. burt. non-one has ever shown any hesitancy in ‘outting’ Standardistas. Problem is I’ve seen 20-odd ‘real identities’ given for half a dozen writers

  3. Be very careful what you print. So far what Robinsod has said isn’t even remotely close to the truth.

    I can categorically state that no-one in National gives me anything. I can categorically state that not one of Robinsod’s hypothetical descriptions of “Steady Eddy” are even remotely close. But that won’t stop him hurling the crap, or will it stop you.

    Think very carefully before you and Robinsod “out” an innocent party and think about the damage you may cause. I will hold you to account if any harm comes of this.

    The sad fact is that your on ranks are leaking like the proverbial colander, a fact that you all will become aware of in coming days.

    IrishBill: you’re banned but in the interests of fairness we’ll let this one through.

  4. r0b 5

    burt – if you feel an overwhelming need to comment on this issue I’m pretty sure you could do so to your hearts content at ‘Sodblog.

  5. r0b 6

    heart’s content – whatever happened to edit?

  6. burt 7

    IrishBill

    No threat from me. I’m not about to out anyone. You need to understand the difference between a caution and a threat. But hey week off no trouble if that is what you want then it’s your blog shooting the messenger is classic Labour party MO. See ya next Tuesday @ 10:50.

  7. Scribe 8

    So when Cameron Slater does something he’s a nasty piece of work. When Robinsod returns the favour, you encourage people to read it.

    Am I reading that correctly?

    [no you’re not. Whaleoil’s nastiness is in his posting pictures of people, making sexual allegations, and making porn involving underage boys. ‘Sod pushes the boundary but doesn’t do that kind of stuff. SP]

  8. Felix 9

    No, you’re not. You’re not writing it correctly either. Why am I not surprised?

  9. randal 10

    Nice one SP…these creeps think they can just do what they like with no comebacks. they are the slime in the system and as you say just downright nasty. In reality they are not even interested in politics. It is just a convenient outlet for their psychopathology and their general hatred of the world and the people in it.

  10. Treating others how you like to be treated yourself, comes pretty early on in ethics and morality, I’ve got no problem with it!

    (perhaps ‘sod might need to arm himself incase the whale flips his lid though!)

  11. KITNO – ‘sod has been a pig hunter since he was a small child.

    Oh and to you righties who are claiming this makes me scum like Cameron? It does and I’m not happy about it but if you had taken your moral outrage to him when he started this shit a year ago you’d have more moral credibility…

  12. Scribe 13

    Felix,

    What am I missing, O wise one?

  13. “Robinsod

    KITNO – ‘sod has been a pig hunter since he was a small child.”

    Nice, I’m going for my licence this summer!

  14. Patrick 15

    If ‘sod says he’s got IP addresses, and I have no reason to doubt that he does (I would never even consider registering for Whaleoil, so I can’t check this for myself) then it takes very little work to track everything back the the source.

    Can’t wait for Wednesday!

  15. Jeeves 16

    Whaleoil… interesting fellow. Very angsty. Seems to be one of those “give it out but can’t take it” types. Slurring and slandering. He’s like a plump version of Winston. His obsession with unnatractive socialists (namely his posts on Sonny Thomas) I found both amusing and ironic.

    Aside from DPF, the right wing “blogosphere” is full of fruitcakes who need more sunlight.

  16. Crank 17

    I personally don’t think you should be endorsing this behaviour Steve.

    I would just like to check whether this blog would start revealling the identities of commenters here if it became politically expedient.

    Whale oil and Robinsod are very similar. Both are fantasists who think they are web “personalities”. This belief led Robinsod to start his own blog but the reality of what people thought of him was displayed by their absence on his site. I think this move is an attempt to salve his ego through rubber neckers increasing his traffic.

  17. Tane 18

    Crank, this blog has a policy of not revealing the private information of its commenters, something Whale has demonstrably failed to do through his own technical incompetence.

  18. weka 19


    If ‘sod says he’s got IP addresses, and I have no reason to doubt that he does (I would never even consider registering for Whaleoil, so I can’t check this for myself) then it takes very little work to track everything back the the source.

    How does that work? I thought the name using an IP was protected by the ISP. And don’t some ISPs use dynamic IP addresses anyway?

    It’s easy to see the large difference between what Wail does and what ‘sod has done. However the risk here is that ‘sod is upping the ante. Which is fine for people with IT skills who are better placed to judge risk, but not for the rest of us. I’m not convinced, yet, that this doesn’t just make the blogosphere less safe.

  19. From memory farrar kicked it all off when he started revealing the workplace of some of kiwi blogs (ex?) posters, who had turned up the heat a bit more than he could cope with.

  20. Crank 21

    Weka,

    I have the same feeling. In the past it was just blog authors that have been targets of “outing”. I really fear that Robinsod has just escalated this to commenters as well.

    I have visited Whale oils site rarely and have never commented but these events have forced me to reassess my own participation in the blogosphere and I imagine quite a few other will be doing the same thing.

  21. Tim Ellis 22

    I don’t encourage this behaviour at all, from either side, but I do think that people who hide behind anonymity, and from that shield of anonymity behave in a way that deliberately provokes outrage from others, then it is inevitable that some new enemy will try to reveal that person’s anonymity. I have noticed that people who use their real names tend to be far less likely to engage in obnoxious hyperbole.

    Lots of commenters and bloggers do seem to be able to behave themselves when using anonymous names, but it seems to me almost all of the very badly-behaved people are anonymous.

    I don’t think it speaks very highly of any of the people involved. Including you, for writing a post about it, SP.

    [lprent: So what do you think of WhaleOil?
    He happily attacks people anonymous or not, and simply makes things up to make the ‘facts’ fit whatever theory he has. ]

  22. bill brown 23

    Tim,

    If a blog allows anonymous comments and people choose to comment anonymously, is it not immoral for the people who run that blog to actively try to uncover the anonymous commenter’s real identity?

  23. Tim Ellis 24

    Of course it’s immoral, Bill, and I do not argue otherwise. I just say that while it is everybody’s right to blog or comment anonymously, if they behave in a way that deliberately offends others, they are likely to create enemies for themselves. One of the consequences of making enemies like that, is that your anonymity is at risk.

    The solution is quite simple. Don’t say anything anonymously that you wouldn’t have the personal integrity to sign your name to. Don’t behave in a way that you wouldn’t normally, just because you have the protection of anonymity.

  24. bill brown 25

    Tim, I do hope that you point out the immorality of this practice wherever you see it.

  25. Daveski 26

    But accuse the Standard of having 9th floor links and get banned for life.

    Those of you who are very politically motivated will obviously have personal and other contacts that you use. In neither case, does this amount to a conspiracy.

    I’m not expecting balanced commentary from a partisan blog but some reflection on pots and kettles is needed before anyone should get too excited.

    [lprent: Sure we’re tired of the 9th floor smear and tend to react accordingly.
    It isn’t correct, there has never been any substantiation – just blow-hard unsubstantiated claims from the bloated one. They could probably convince Bill Ralston – but he is computer illiterate anyway. Most of the rest of the people who use it are only doing it for effect, and I treat them as looking for a fast martyrdom. Being the generous person I am, I oblige. ]

  26. TomS 27

    The central allegation appears to be that a National Party insider using a pseudonym hands a virtual brown envelope full of smears to Cameron Slater, who repeats them as “rumours and gossip.” DPF links to these “rumours and gossip,” which are then picked up at at least a subliminal level by important MSM opinion makers who read these blogs, effectively laundering the misogynistic hate speech dogwhistles around Helen Clark that National want to get out there but don’t want to be seen to be associated with.

    If this is provable to the high level of the National Party that Robinsod claims it is, then it IS a big MSM story, no doubt about it – because it involves a sophisticated, thematic and systematic attempt to deceive and manipulate the New Zealand public from within the National Party itself.

  27. Felix 28

    What are you missing Scribe? In a nutshell – context, relevance and perspective.

    But you knew that already didn’t you? Because if you really, really needed the difference explained you’d be an actual retard.

    (As opposed to just playing retard’s advocate which is what you usually do here).

  28. Draco TB 29

    …just because you have the protection of anonymity.

    No such thing as anonymity on the internet. All traffic can be traced. This is what most people don’t understand about posting on blogs and forums.

    I don’t particularly like what ‘sod is doing but if even half of what he says is true then it needs to be brought to light.

  29. Crank 30

    Whale oil is a raving nut job. You would have to be insane to involve him in a high level, clandestine media infiltration programme like you claim TomS.

    A fantasist like Whaleoil couldn’t help boasting to everyone that he was an essential cog in a huge conspiracy.

    Anyway you can’t tell me that the agenda of the Standards authors is not the same thing i.e. infecting the MSM with their spin by osmosis.

    Unfortunately for them they are not that good at it. Labelling the entire press gallery as amateur “cocks” probably didn’t help.

    [lprent: Read the About. There was a hole in the blogs and that was one part of it. The MSM have been known to read the blogs sometimes…. ]

  30. Scribe 31

    Felix,

    Well, considering ‘Sod has admitted his actions are equivalent to those of Whale, who is “a nasty piece of work”, not sure who looks like a retard.

    Not even the man himself chooses to defend himself, yet you do. Soldier on.

  31. weka 32

    I just say that while it is everybody’s right to blog or comment anonymously, if they behave in a way that deliberately offends others, they are likely to create enemies for themselves. One of the consequences of making enemies like that, is that your anonymity is at risk.

    The solution is quite simple. Don’t say anything anonymously that you wouldn’t have the personal integrity to sign your name to. Don’t behave in a way that you wouldn’t normally, just because you have the protection of anonymity.

    There is of course a difference between posting anonymously and posting under a pseudonym.

    Tim, as a woman I can tell you that there are serious reasons for posting on the internet under a pseudonym, other than wanting to post obnoxiously. I would hate for the rationale you present to be the only way that people can think about this issue. And I would hate for your argument to undermine the strategies that some people need to take in order to have a relatively safe internet presence.

    The other huge problem is that it’s not just about posting obnoxiously (in the sense of personal attacks) that creates problems. It’s pretty obvious that posting a strong opinion that someone else doesn’t like can be enough to be harassed.

    Having said all that I can understand the attraction for someone like ‘sod to take to task someone like Wail (and co). I just think it’s risky.

  32. weka 33


    just because you have the protection of anonymity.

    No such thing as anonymity on the internet. All traffic can be traced. This is what most people don’t understand about posting on blogs and forums.

    Sure Draco, but there are different levels of anonymity, and not everyone has the skills to trace another person’s tracks.

    It would be helpful if someone would write, in plain language, how that tracing happens. I found ‘sod’s explanation about Wail’s site and why it was easier to trace pretty interesting. How many non-geek commenters would have known that?

  33. bill brown 34

    …and not everyone has the motivation to trace another person’s tracks.

    Having the knowledge is not the same as using it.

  34. Bill 35

    Tom S appears to be the only one who ‘gets it’!

    What Robinsod is saying is that the Nats are SYSTEMATICALLY spinning scurrilous shite out through particular blogs, using the same pathway every time, to have it (or enough of it) picked up by an obliging msm. Part and parcel of their campaign? Am I wrong?

    That’s FUCKED. If the Nats have something to say, they should say it and not hide behind blubber….who, by the way sounds pretty fucking scared in his comment up yonder. A case of ‘Methinks he doth protesteth too much’ or however the accurate quote should read.

    If you have just realised that you can be tracked as an individual from comments on the web, well congratulations, you just learned something. But ‘sods post ain’t about your navel.

  35. Felix 37

    Scribe you miss the point willfully, that’s why I say you’re playing retard’s advocate. As usual.

  36. randal 38

    keys intends to keep his promises to anyone who wants to buy Kiwibank and ACC

  37. weka 39


    If you have just realised that you can be tracked as an individual from comments on the web, well congratulations, you just learned something.

    I already knew that, Bill. But I can’t trace who you are, so obviously it’s not as simple as you and some others are stating. There’s an issue about power here, who holds it, and how it’s being used. ‘sod has one kind of power, that they’re using, but they’re not the only person affected.

    I get the issue about dirty tricks from the right, and I agree that something needs to be done about it. I’m concerned about the fall-out in the blogosphere of upping the ante.

    I’m not saying ‘sod is wrong to take action, just that I’m concerned. I’d feel more comfortable about it if someone on the left would write about the safety issues as well.

    Captcha: list ransome

  38. Anita 40

    weka,

    What would something about safety issues look like? As a woman who’s worked in IT I could possibly write a something, but it might not be the right one 🙂

    The short version is to assume that anyone who makes a reasonable effort can figure out who you are. In this case in particular, every time you post on a blog the blog owners probably have enough to find you quite easily. If the owner is sloppy, as Robinsod says Whale has been, they can give that information to lots of other people by accident.

    Assume that all net transaction are insecure, almost all of them are 🙂

  39. Anita 41

    Oh, I should also say, the old net traditions about pseudonymity are all about convention, politeness and social norms. It is absolutely usual to know someone’s real name and never use it.

    One of the things about the recent growth of the net has been all the new people who don’t have those social norms. It has changed the character of the net a lot.

  40. Bill 42

    Weka.

    Who said it was easy? Blubber didn’t use blogging software, which meant ” that registered users (had) access to a tab at the top of posts that show(ed) the ip addresses of people who (wrote) comments there.”

    Now that’s pretty fucking stupid in my book. That would allow even me to get IP addresses. And then if I wanted to do a lot of leg work……

    It seems to me that ‘sod was seeking to allay people’s fears, but nobody read his post carefully enough.

    Anyway.

    Isn’t the story that Nat are using a pile of fronts to launder smear in much the same way as a company might money?

  41. Speaking of which, im sure some of us woudl really really like to know if mr Douglas Hancock is one of kiwiblogs regulars (http://www.stuff.co.nz/4694847a11.html). Gutter mole isn’t something ive read but telling Hellen Clark to get out why she still can was all the rage on kiwiblog a little while back.

  42. Ruth 44

    What I find amusing is the fact that people are arguing over someone whose handle is ‘Whaleoil’.

    It’s all a diversion for blog readers, but ‘Sod is in danger of inflating the already over-inflated egos of these people. Really they are nothing, and their opinions are nothing…let’s not encourage them to think otherwise.

  43. Pascal's bookie 45

    There is that Ruth.

    But on the other hand, if more respectable people are using Whaleoil to catapault propaganda then that’s another thing entirely.

    The fact is that whale and his various hangers on are a large part of the rightwing online community. While there are other more reasonable and less mental individuals these guys drive a lot of the discouse that fliters around the place. Talkback picks up a whole bunch of their crap and so on. National party MP’s have put out press releases based on their conspiracy mongering.

    Saying ‘oh don’t worry about them, who cares etc” at some point stops being disassociation, and starts being enabling.

  44. I use my name because I am not afraid to put my name to my beliefs. Why stand up for anything online if your name isn’t on it – it doesn’t make sense if you want people to know what you personally believe in whether they know you or not.

    I don’t want people to read my blog and treat it as gospel, after all we all have different opinions don’t we? Nobody is right or wrong, but that’s the joy of having free opinions.

  45. the sprout 47

    what a terrible disappointment SlaterWhale is to his father. and what comic irony that he his so desperate to win Daddy’s approval.

  46. weka 48

    Anita, that’d be great if you wanted to write something. I was thinking of stand alone posts, but also where people with IT skills are writing about issues like the one in this post they also write explaining the technology a bit. I don’t mean ‘how to’ explanations, but something that has more nuance than just ‘anyone can trace anyone’.

    The short version is to assume that anyone who makes a reasonable effort can figure out who you are.

    eg how does that work? Would someone hack an ISP to get a name? Or would they get the name from an ISP employee? Or is it simply a technical task?

    Personally I do assume that potentially whatever I write could be traced to me in real life and made public. But someone having to spend a week tracing a commenter is different to someone spending half an hour to do a trace. It’s important for people to have enough knowledge to be able to make informed choices about what they do online.

    I’ve also been assuming that any of the Standard writers can easily find my IP, but I don’t know how easy it is to connect that to my real life. I’m not too bothered really because I feel there is more than enough trust and integrity with the management of this blog. But there are other blogs where I wouldn’t feel that way, and I previously wouldn’t have understood the problems with Wail’s ‘blog’ (not that you could pay me to post there, or probably even read).

  47. lprent 49

    Anita: All transactions are usually visible to the system operators. In the case of this site to the hosts, me, and the moderators. I’m not particularly worried about the hosts. We have a good reason not to break trust because that would mean that there isn’t a site. So do the hosts for commercial trust reasons. Besides I’d find out one way or the other.

    The server is visible on the net and outside any firewall (it is a net server). It has a reasonable level of lock down. It would be feasible for someone to break in from the outside. A *lot* of effort and very little to see.

    Deliberately there is no info about posters except gmail accounts.

    What you could be able to see (as Anita points out). You can see the e-mail addresses dummy or otherwise of the commentators and the IP numbers that they had when they put up a comment. We use this to be able to do moderation.

    There is some summary info processed from the logs and that may stay resident for up to a day. I clean the logs to a more secure location so you can’t track patterns by anything except what people choose to do by putting up comments. Ie I remove the transaction records. Ditto for the transactions on posts.

    This is all pretty routine hardening for an inherently insecure system. If you can see it from the net it is inherently insecure..

    Of course breaking into the system is illegal, and is likely to attract my attention. I read the log summaries at least a couple of times a day to keep an eye out for certain types of attacks.

    In the end the main person you have to trust is moi. I have access to all traffic patterns, but that is the nature of a sysop.

    It isn’t fully secure, but it is as good as I can get for the time budget that I have.

  48. Anita 50

    weka,

    One of the things about IP addresses is that they end up glued onto lots of different things.

    So, for example, the IP address I’m writing thing from tonight is stuck into the email I send to a mailing list about chickens, which I post on with my full name, it is stuck on to quite a lot of emails I write for work (when I am working at home), it appears when I post on other websites and so on.

    So, even if the IP address someone is using gives a relatively meaningless hostname (e.g. blah blah xtra blah) if you have access to enough other sources you can join them all together and start building a picture.

    That’s not true of all IP addresses (e.g. many organisations push all their web traffic through a single IP address) but it’s common enough that if you had access to a list of comments and their originating IP addresses you could get real names for some of them quite quickly.

    To take an example, if someone was on some political party mailing lists they could quickly link some names to commenters on their blog.

    There are lots of other ways to work IP addresses, but that’s a relatively good example of an easy one which requires next to no technical skills, no hacking and nothing remotely illegal. It wouldn’t always be easy to get to a real name from an IP address, but unless people work really hard at security anyone who tries hard enough will get there in the end.

    In my case I only use my first name here, but I assume that anyone can get my surname in <2 minutes. Knowing that is a good thing, people who think they can be anonymous on the net get burnt 🙁

  49. Anita 51

    lprent,

    Part of the point is that if you really wanted to you could get many commenters’ names pretty quickly. We either trust you to not do that, or we don’t care about protecting our anonymity.

    We also trust you to not go making that logged information available to all and sundry. Apparently trusting Whale Oil to have the same level of competence and ethics was unwise :-/

    The most paranoid people I’ve ever met about personal information on the net have been security specialists. The more forensics and hackery one is involved in, the more one comes to know just how easy it is to piece the jigsaw back together.

    P.S. I’ve just done the 10.5.5 upgrade and still no edit. To borrow a cliché – I don’t think it’s me, it’s you 🙂 Email me if you need a guinea pig when you’re fixing it. Not urgent tho 🙂

  50. Hawkeye 52

    Just a quick observation.

    The words :’It isn’t correct, there has never been any substantiation’ sound very Winston like to me. If something isn’t true just because no one has proven it, then there must be some interesting truths out there.

    The truth is. It isn’t in need of proof, it just is, like air. If you had said “this is not true” it would have been a statement of fact, and could have been believed, but to say it’s not true because it hasn’t been substantiated is to obfuscate, and I have to wonder why!

    Mr. Peters has shown himself to be the master of denial till proven wrong, indeed, he often continues to deny even then. Please don’t join him in this practice any longer. IREMOVES ALL CREDIBILITY FROM YOUR SITE.

  51. weka 53

    Thanks for the explanations, that’s helpful 🙂 Cheers.

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