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Rachinger on dirty politics

Written By: - Date published: 7:15 am, May 1st, 2015 - 61 comments
Categories: Dirty Politics - Tags: , ,

Ben Rachinger is an ex Young National member and was a big fan of John Key. He’s a self professed computer security expert. He’s a controversial and polarising figure in social media (claims and counterclaims abound).

For some time Ben has been claiming to have been drawn in to / infiltrated the world of dirty politics. He claims to have been working as a police informant. He has been posting snippets of information on Twitter, including some supporting his claim that Cameron Slater offered him $5,000 to “hack” The Standard. He has posted snippets that show David Farrar, Cameron Slater and Matthew Hooton trying to get access to our internal author posts. He has discussed various claims with various journalists, but nothing public has resulted from it. He has claimed to have further information relating to journalists and other dirty politics players. He claims to have material that will embarrass both the “right” and the “left” of politics, and that he is disgusted by both. He has claimed that he is receiving death threats, visits from the police, and other forms of harassment.

Despite the relevance to this blog, we haven’t previously posted on Ben’s claims. It hasn’t been clear how seriously to take them, and we didn’t want to add to the many pressures that he is apparently under. Apart from a brief and inconclusive exchange between Ben and lprent on Twitter there has been no contact between Ben and The Standard authors.

Over the last two days Ben has been telling his story much more slowly and systematically, and better supported (by multiple screenshots) than he has before. There are seven “blog” posts here, with more to come. (Too long to read? Another blogger summarises here.)

Because word of Ben’s account is spreading we’re finally posting on it, but we do so without comment or endorsement at this stage. We suggest that readers not try to contact Ben. Evaluate his evidence carefully, but leave him be to tell his story in his own time. Don’t expect anything in particular. Masks and mirrors.

61 comments on “Rachinger on dirty politics ”

  1. Tracey 1

    Thanks for the well considered introduction.

    • Tracey 1.1

      I have read all seven posts. To my mind everything there is deniable. The “backend”, if you like, is needed to show that this was really Cameron Slater, yes?

      Saying these are between me and X isn’t actually proof?

      He also wasn’t clear about the police informant it, how it arose (was that from the knock on the parents door?) and how it went from Rawshark to Slater as well?

      I know the story isn’t fully told yet but to date I can’t see that it is “evidence” of any real weight…

      • felix 1.1.1

        Has Slater denied any of it?

      • r0b 1.1.2

        Among his claims are bank transactions linked to Slater’s account. That could get interesting.

      • dukeofurl 1.1.3

        Its seems to be coherent- but with gaps in timelines in the screen grabs.

        As for is it Slater. The circumstantial evidence would be yes.

        Raises another question about Slaters hack of the labour party website, his illegal downloading of member database ( in a backup form) and his subsequent publishing parts of it.

        The security weakness of the labour site was probably exposed by deliberate hacking methods, using automated tools to expose security weakness.

        The ‘polish’ guy Tomas, seems to be a kiwi with a polish ancestry-( often originally as refugees to the UK during WW2).

  2. Anne 2

    I have only had time to read the ‘blogger’s summary’ but most of it comes across to me as probably legitimate stuff. The police operate in some questionable ways sometimes and they are not apolitical in their decision making. Many of us know that from past personal experiences.

    On the other hand there are two sets of police complaints over the Dirty Politics saga. One from Cameron Slater and the other from the Labour Party. It seems to me that the police are concentrating more on Slater’s complaint- surprise, surprise. (sarc)

    Don’t be surprised if a number of us have been identified both officially by State personnel and/or unofficially using illegal means. In the case of the State its not something to be concerned about- its their job after all – but the illegal gathering of information by private individuals on perceived enemies should be very concerning indeed.

    Edit: I agree though with Tracey that he has to produce evidence before any of it can be acted upon.

    • Tracey 2.1

      Anne

      The blog posts themselves are not long. Only takes a few moments (for those who can read quickly) to get through them.

      • Lanthanide 2.1.1

        They’re pretty yawn-y at this point and aren’t really written in a coherent narrative. Seems to all be smoke with no fire.

        • Pascals bookie 2.1.1.1

          Pretty sure that’s not how that saying goes, brother. 🙂

        • Vagabundo 2.1.1.2

          It strikes me as having a lot of stuff omitted that could seriously implicate Rachinger as being a bigger player than he portrays himself as, assuming there is truth to his blog posts. I wouldn’t be too surprised if Slater goes on to claim this is the case, and for it to have a reasonable basis in truth.

          • Tracey 2.1.1.2.1

            Well, Slater was recently found to embellish things to make himself seem more important and influential than he is (see Collins inquiry), so anything Slater says must also be regarded with cynicism.

            So, unlike you I would be surprised if Slater says anything with a “reasonable basis in truth”.

            • Vagabundo 2.1.1.2.1.1

              There are way too many holes in Rachinger’s story to make it fully believable. He probably was fairly cosy with Slater, and he probably did talk to the police in the downlow, but due to the gaps, it makes me wonder what he might be omitting. If it means all we have is what Slater might say, if he hasn’t already (I wouldn’t know, I don’t read WO), then so be it.

      • Anne 2.1.2

        Okay Tracey, rearranged my work and have now read the posts. Wonder why he has chosen to write the story is such a piecemeal way? Hard to follow.

        At this stage, I was meeting my Police handler at least once a week. On park benches and in cafes. It was like something out of a movie.

        My Police handler informed me that Mr Hager had been raided before I received the message above. I leaked this information to a journalist as securely as possible. I felt that raiding a journalist for writing a book was a step towards a fascist state.

        Presumably this police informant caper came about after the police sergeant visited his parents and subsequently met Rachinger in a cafe.

        It looks like he’s had his trust in the police badly shaken. I know the feeling.

  3. ianmac 3

    As a bear with a very little brain I am bewildered by all this. But hopeful that something more than just hearsay becomes available. Wonder what Nicky thinks?

  4. Ovid 4

    /u/Axist on Reddit put together Rachinger’s posts in a more understandable manner :

    Benjamin Rachinger (the writer of these pieces) is a young guy interested in politics and computer science (hacking etc.)

    Last year the WhaleOil blog was hit by a DDOS attack and Rachinger, having an innocent interest in the WhaleOil blog sent a tweet to Cameron Slater (owner of WhaleOil) asking him what protections he had against DDOS attacks.

    They had a casual back and forth and seemed to get along. Cameron Slater shared a few of Rachingers videos (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7UvJXAKMtU&feature=youtu.be) on the WhaleOil blog.

    Rachinger also gave Slater some advice on a possible media start-up Slater was planning.

    On 13th of August 2014 “Dirty Politics” was released which showed the collusion between the National Party and Cameron Slater etc. after Slater has had his emails hacked by Rawshark and leaked to Nicky Hager.

    Rachinger messaged Slater to see if what had been leaked was true. Slater asked Rachinger if he knew who the hacker was (on the assumption that Rachinger has knowledge of the “hacking scene”.)

    Rachinger, at this point, started a ‘personal investigation’ into who Rawshark might be. 2 days after the election the police came knocking on his door to talk to him because “Cameron Slater says you have inside knowledge of the Rawshark hack”.

    Rachinger agreed to work with the police but ultimately did not know who Rawshark was. He was assigned a police handler who he met on park benches and in cafes weekly to discuss the Rawshark issues etc. etc.

    During this process, he was still in contact with Cameron Slater who was attempting to organise (and asking Rachinger for help) his own hacks of other journalists/bloggers/people who might have information on who Rawshark is. Rachinger was passing this information back to the police.

    At this point, Nicky Hager (author of Dirty Politics) had his house raided by the police in search of information on Rawshark. Rachinger worried that this raid was a result of some of the information he had provided police, he was assured it wasn’t. He continued to work with the police and continued contact with Slater who still saw Rachinger as a valuable asset in “hitting” other journalists and politicians.

    And that is where we are up to now until he releases the next part

    NOTE: All the information I posted above is corroborated with screenshots and other evidence in the blog posts themselves. I’d suggest reading them if you want to see it all.

    • ianmac 4.1

      Brilliant thanks Ovid.

    • Tracey 4.2

      Ovid, did you read him as saying the police later wanted him to be an insider on stuff relating to Slater? That was my take but I may have got confused?

  5. weka 5

    Strange how the story just stops, like there’s more that hasn’t been put up yet.

    • Anne 5.1

      He seems to be posting each bit as he types it. It’s possible, as rawshark/yeshe suggests @6, that he is a bit fearful. In which case he may be drip feeding as a safety precaution.

  6. rawshark-yeshe 6

    Please, stay safe Ben Rachinger. Please don’t let ‘them’ create another Paul White.

    We have become a sad place under our NSA overlords and their sock puppets. It’s not worth a young man’s life now, and it certainly wasn’t before.

    Please, keep yourself safe.

  7. One Anonymous Bloke 8

    It reads as though Mr. Rachinger has had his faith in the Police and those nice people at the National Party severely shaken, and now he thinks his “Shock! Horror! Tories are criminals!” revelation is news.

    It’s nice to see someone realise he’s been lied to his whole life, and that’s the extent of it.

    • Anne 8.1

      If you’re right OAB then he’s due credit for opening up about it. There’s one hell of a lot of people out there who are still living in blissful ignorance. He might wake a few of his peers up – just might.

      • Tracey 8.1.1

        I’m sure they have some attack lines ready for this eventuality.

        They will be wanting to be very careful about using any mental health smears give Slater’s own background…

        • Tom Gould 8.1.1.1

          That priceless photo of blubber boy, dazed and confused on this back after being KO’ed in the ring after a few seconds, pretty much sums up his whole sordid sleazy creepy bullying game, really.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 8.1.1.1.1

            At this point it would normally be appropriate to point out that getting in a ring is never easy. If only there were someone who would lift a finger 😈

  8. Tom Gould 9

    We need to remind ourselves, because it is so preposterous, that a political ‘black-ops’ crew ran a rolling smear campaign out of the PM’s office at taxpayers’ expense. Simply staggering that they are mostly all still there and still doing it.

    • Sacha 9.1

      Some of them were still there after the earlier ‘Hollow Men’ revelations. If opponents do not thoroughly enforce consequences at the time, they only regret it later. More significantly, all of us do.

  9. Tiger Mountain 10

    this is one fragile person who for whatever reason seems intent on very slowly ratting himself out, he will likely be in for more than Police visits if he fills in a few of those gaps and makes more connections

    • whateva next? 10.1

      Without wanting to sound patronising, I would say he was an innocent, exposed to the rawest of sleeze/lowlife and now trying to make sense of it all. Good luck to him and I hope he has the right support.

      • Anne 10.1.1

        Yes, whateva next I agree with you. He is trying to put the story together in an effort to makes sense of it all but, as yet, he hasn’t produced compelling evidence. Hopefully that will be spelled out in the up-coming posts.

        We know there was illegal and corrupt activity occurring from within the PM’s office, and we know who some of the protagonists were/are. We also know that what we know (via Dirty Politics) was likely only the tip of the iceberg. So, if this young chap has more to tell then let him tell it without judging him before he has finished.

  10. rawshark-yeshe 11

    staggering indeed. not a one held to any account .. just employed for more money higher up their feeding chain.

    • rawshark-yeshe 11.1

      sorry .. that was reply to Tom Gould at #9 … not to Tiger Mountain.

  11. So Hoots is snooping around like the Penguin and Slater still trying to outdo Arya Stark with lists of names despite trying to distance himself from it. Nothing’s changed in reality.

    • felix 12.1

      Where are you getting that from, rhino?

      • rhinocrates 12.1.1

        The reference to Hoots snooping around trying to find out the identities of Standard posters in the article above.

        David Farrar, Cameron Slater and Matthew Hooton trying to get access to our internal author posts

        It shows that his initial death threat against Nicky Hager wasn’t just a momentary booze-fuelled lapse of reason and that ones who like to portray themselves as the voice of reason for the right are still systematically and persistently vindictive behind all the smarminess in public.

  12. Murray Rawshark 13

    My impression is still that this guy talks far more than he does. It all smells of exaggeration without too many hard facts. I’m not at all convinced, but I have been wrong before.

  13. the pigman 14

    I opined a while ago that Rachinger was a bit of a narcissist harbouring delusions of grandeur, and suggested others check out his youtube blogs about John Key and the National government from as late as mid-last year, as well as his attack lines on Dotcom. At that time I looked at his other stuff – linked in profile, followed his twitter, other social media stuff. He described himself as director of a company specialising in “social analytics” or some similar bullshit (I know it’s criminally lazy that I’m working purely off recollection here..).

    Not sure if his youtube videos are still up, but it was my view he had done a complete political 180 in about 3 – 5 months, probably corresponding to [r0b: let’s not please]

    • weka 14.1

      Rachinger is mentally ill and therefore full of shit? Really? I thought we were meant to be getting past slurs and enforced stereotypes and stigma on people with mental health issues. No idea if Ben does or not, but really who cares? Focus on the issues.

  14. Dale Cross 15

    Great story! Where’s the rest.
    Sounds like he’s a confident young man that just loves a good conspiracy story. And don’t we all.
    In reality this won’t change a thing.
    The economy is going great. That’s what matters. Low unemployment, good health system good social services crime rate steady or dropping.
    Dirty Politics did not change anything. Ponytail,nothing but made them stronger.
    Rachinger is delusional.
    But if you can prove me wrong please do.

    • adam 15.1

      Good luck with your trolling Dale Cross – needs some work, but I’m sure you will get there. There are many types of trolling – you kinda missed the mark on two different styles.

      Here’s a little something to help you appreciate your lack of skills.

    • halfcrown 15.2

      As I said the other day Alice in Wonderland is another good fairy tale.

  15. Dale Cross 16

    And that proves me right. Thanks Adam.

    • ropata 16.1

      You are sounding a bit desperate there mate. Better cling tighter to your little slogans, and drink more keyster kool aid.

      https://youtu.be/OE2Luu5BOvQ

    • One Anonymous Bloke 16.2

      1. ‘The economy is doing great’. The housing crisis in Auckland says you have invented a whole new meaning of the word “great”. Oh, and bubble!

      2. Unemployment, especially underemployment, is double what it was in 2007.

      3. Chuck your other talking points in the trash on your way out. Good luck with your tr*lling.

  16. ropata 17

    The economy is great if you are a millionaire, as always. Not so great for the rest of NZ

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