lprent: Rob Gilchrist was a police spy on activists for a long time. He was unmasked by Rochelle Rees (rocky) and Nicky Hager. Being involved in many activist groups around the country he’d known Nicky Hager as a person to send stories to.
Rob Gilchrist volunteered this post. He requested that it did not become a “Rob hatefest”. I agreed, so this post is under full moderation (all comments cleared by me at my convenience). The topic is Nicky Hager, Cameron Slater, and the evidence. I’m liable to award 6 week bans for off-topic comments.
In late 2008 I unfortunately became a subject of an investigation by Nicky Hager. While there is considerable difference between why I became the focus of Mr Hager and the many news articles he wrote about me at the time, there are also considerable similarities in how he received the content for his latest book.
Now I am not going to go into why I became of interest to Hager, that’s well covered on this site in particular, however after reading a lot of comments in the mass media and on sites like this one about the book ‘Dirty Politics‘ (which I haven’t read by the way) I felt the need to finally put fingers to the keyboard and write about not the content of the book itself, but about Nicky Hager. And it’s possible some of this may come as a bit of a shock to some of you.
To say I was upset, pissed off and highly annoyed that Nicky Hager had decided to write a number of articles about me and my employment would really be an understatement. I had been emailed by Nicky to meet him for coffee at a local café, something we did semi regularly when he came to my home town. Having enjoyed chatting with him previously over the years I accepted and we met for coffee, just like normal. Except it was not going to be normal.
After exchanging to usual greetings and coffee, Nicky said something to me that I will never forget. “Rob, ummm this isn’t going to be nice but I know you’ve been working for police for over 10 years.”
After receiving about 4 heart attacks in the first 4 seconds, I knew that my secret was out. I also knew that I could not argue against what he had just said. If it had been anyone BUT Hager telling accusing me of working undercover for Police my response would have been different.
Indeed I had, over the years practised (and used) various responses for this exact situation. Its just something you train for. But this was different. This was Nicky Hager making the accusation. And even before he pulled out a rather large folder of notes and placed the on the table, I knew I was screwed. ‘Burnt’ is the usual euphemism used in such a situation. I called it ’Fried’.
I said very little to Nicky after I quickly flicked through his tatty file. There was nothing I could say. Partly because the words would not come out but, partly because Id been trained to say nothing. But mainly because it was Hager. He asked me if I had anything to say, to which I replied “Nah, I don’t think I can tell you anything that you don’t already know. I then got up, shook his hand and walked out.
I wont tell you exactly what happened next and over the coming days because I’d get myself into more trouble. But I obviously spoke to a number of people and told them all the same thing. If Hager has the story, there was no point in fighting it.
So, that’s a bit of my unfortunate experience with Nicky Hager. If I could offer some advice to those now having their own unfortunate experience with Mr Hager, if you do fight back, which it seems they
are doing, I suggest they be very very careful how they do it. Granted the people named in “Dirty Politics” have a lot more to lose than I did, I wasn’t Prime Minister, MP, or a ‘higher up’ in politics.
I was not even a right wing blogger (but living in Christchurch I guess I am just one of the scum that Slater spoke about). But I do hope these people have enough sense to know when they have been burnt (not an effigy this time) and not try to put the flames out by throwing oil on the fire. Sometimes, although highly rare in politics, putting your hand up and admitting the truth may be the way to go.
You see, Mr Hager is very good at what he does. He is not just a journalist who working to a deadline just makes stuff up to add to the word count. He researches the hell out of the subjects in his articles and books. He talks to the right people, asks the right questions and goes over every little detail he has available to him with a nit comb.
For PM Key to come out and call him a ’conspiracy theorist’ shows that,
Mr Key, the facts in the book may be ‘dissolving’ before your eyes, but not in the eyes of the public. Maybe National has a short memory, do that not recall a book called “The Hollow Men”, or what about “Seeds of Distrust” or the book “Secret Power” that blew the lid off the GCSB and ECHELON, unsurprisingly all by the same author of “Dirty Politics”.
Now before I get called a lefty, I want to point out that I’m not. Granted I am not a fan of Judith Collins or Paula Bennett. But I don’t support any political party at all. I also don’t vote. Never have, never will. And before I get attacked for not voting, I don’t vote because politicians lie. All of them, from both sides of the fence. To me politics is a dirty disgusting business.
However, I can speak from experience and knowledge. I know that Hager had more information available to him than he wrote in the articles about me. I also know why he didn’t include them, because he couldn’t back that information up independently. It may come as a surprise but I have the utmost respect for Mr Hager, He doesn’t write ’baseless allegations’, ’what-ifs and fanciful speculation’ Mr Hager is also not a ‘conspiracy theorist‘, he’s just extremely good at finding conspiracies.
lprent: I’ve closed comments on this post now. Looks like everyone has had a say, and I prefer not to have to release trailing comments for the next 25 days.