Crime

The Follow-Up: The Rachinger Posts

In continuing from my previous post: The Rachinger Posts, the following post considers parts 8-11. The allegations effectively revolve around Slater and friends paying hackers to obtain information that can be subsequently used to embarrass opposition MP’s and force them to resign. 

In Part 8, [Information removed  as [person] has instructed his Lawyer to issue a letter denying Rachinger’s assertions  that (a) he was recently involved in illegal hacking and (b) that he is the Tomas involved in the online conversations with Rachinger. [Person] has requested the information be removed as he considers it defamatoy.] Desleigh Jameson (GM, Instra) co-ordinated Rachinger’s meeting with Lentino and the job offer to work with a person called “Tomas(?)”. The role was to be ambiguously called Tony’s Apprentice.

In Part 9, [information redacted for reason noted above]. He also claims that at this time, the identity of the Dirty Politics hacker – Rawshark was circulating in the Press Gallery. It was at this time that Rachinger tweeted “I am Rawshark” as a show of solidarity. Following this, the Instra connection died off, Jameson claims the role never existed and Rachinger receives no further contact.

It’s unclear why Instra shut him out.

Sidenote: Lentino, is the ex-Mega CEO who also spotted money for the Dotcom’s following the raid and asset freeze in January 2013. I am wondering if this will become relevant in later posts. Because there are some unanswered questions:

  • Was Lentino working with Dotcom against Slater
  • Was he working with Slater against Dotcom
  • Is all this purely coincidental
  • Did Lentino simply decide he didn’t want to work with Rachinger

FURTHER INFORMATION (Post publishing this post): (4/5/2015)

On the information above, it appears that Lentino was most likely working with Slater following a fall out with Dotcom. 

In Part 10, Rachinger alleges that in private conversations, Slater makes clear his dislike of Lynne Prentice, author at The Standard.

Weak evidence: It can probably be ascertained from public record that Slater hates Prentice. After all, The Standard and Whale Oil Beef Hooked blogs are polar opposites [left vs right] and it’s likely the authors behind both sites are too. However, unlike previous posts where Rachinger provides screenshots to confirm many of the views Slater held, in this case, he has not. That could be for various reasons. If the conversation were spoken it would have required Rachinger to have taken audio recordings or for there to be another witness. Why does it matter? It could provide evidence of motive.

FURTHER INFORMATION (Post publishing this post): (3/5/2015)

Rachinger then provides a screen grab and email header involving Slater, David Farrar, and Matthew Hooten. The subject of that email involves whether someone can extract information on the authors at The Standard without hacking. Rachinger (somewhat facetiously) posits why he as a hacker was sent that email.

In Part 11, Rachinger makes the unequivocal statement that he was approached by Slater and offered $5,000 to hack The Standard and leave a backdoor to the server for ongoing access.

He claims to have received a $1,000 down payment from Slater and has provided screenshots of his bank statement to support this claim. He states that he never carried out the attack on The Standard.

FURTHER INFORMATION (Post publishing this post): (3/5/2015) further confirmation that the hacking was to be funded. 

See also (4/5/2015)

Weak evidence: The evidence provided by Rachinger, that he was approached to hack The Standard is circumstantial i.e. his assertion that Slater dislikes Prentice, a forwarded email (involving Slater, Farrar and Hooten) identifying a potential interest in obtaining unauthorised information, a down payment from Slater, and Rachinger’s testimony

This allows us to draw strong inferences but is not conclusive proof.

One problem is that the evidence trail is inconsistent with the email trail of previous job offers involving both Slater and Rachinger. However, given the nature of the job, there is the question as to whether email is an appropriate communication platform when organising a hacking operation? However, one might assume Threema would be used given its high level encryption. So the question is why Rachinger does not provide direct evidence explicitly showing Slater soliciting his services for hacking and leaving a backdoor in the Standard system, or more precisely, does he have evidence to that conclusively proves this?

FURTHER INFORMATION (Post publishing this post): (3/5/2015)

Rachinger also alleges there were monetary incentives if the information achieved certain outcomes e.g. embarrassment or resignation of opposition MP’s. But he doesn’t provide evidence to substantiate that claim.

Rachinger claims that he was concerned about how ‘deep’ he was in the Whale Oil machine so he went to the Police and was interviewed and questioned without a Lawyer present. His devices were cloned for evidence and although the evidence sheet is not included in his post, he has made it available via his twitter:

He makes further allegations that Slater owns firearms and is connected to organised crime gangs and has powerful funders/backers.

It appears that Rachinger is ‘framing his case’ to illustrate how dangerous he believes Slater and friends to be. This is unsurprising if the allegations that he and his family have received death threats are true.

Weak evidence: Rachinger would probably need to furnish a copy of the firearms licensed to Slater to prove this claim, and. I doubt he has access to that information. Regarding the gang connection, in an earlier post, Rachinger provides a screen shot of a conversation that implies Slater is connected enough to know that the Headhunters gang assaulted Matt Blomfield due to monies Blomfield owed the gang.  This is not proof of Slater’s actual connection, since that information could come about via the kumara vine. It also is not evidence that this gang is somehow involved in the immediate issue. But the cumulative effect of that information does speak to the harm that Rachinger appears to believe that Slater through whomever his connections, is capable of inflicting.

FURTHER INFORMATION (Post publishing this post): (3/5/2015) on Slater’s admission to owning firearms. Additionally, apparently this is well known for readers of his blog and those who recall from the Dirty Politics book.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it appears that the Whale Oil machine continues to churn despite the revelations and media interest in Hager’s Dirty Politics. I don’t think that is exactly surprising to anyone. But just because it’s not surprising it’s also not an excuse to turn a blind eye either. That these operations allegedly involve the transfer of money and financial incentives to operatives to illegally extract information for corrupt political ends certainly adds a new and disturbing angle to this rancid behaviour. Additionally, the extent that the threats and operations sought to poison the blogosphere by targeting people behind the two largest left wing political blog sites in Aotearoa is also a real concern for democracy.  If it is true that Slater and friends will attempt to destroy any person and undermine every inch of democracy that threatens to expose the machine and disrupt their political agenda then we might want to consider the extent to which the claims made by Rachinger can be substantiated.

Note: It has been suggested to me that I tread very cautiously and very sceptically in dealing with the Rachinger posts. The purpose of writing these summaries was to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the claims made. The analysis is by no means perfect. But I am interested in what readers think, so feel free to leave a (non-abusive, non-threatening) comment.

The Hacker and All the PM’s Men continued:

Part 8: [link removed as requested by [Person] through his Lawyer]

Part 9: [link removed as requested by [Person] through his Lawyer]

Part 10: https://medium.com/@benrachinger/the-hacker-and-all-the-pms-men-part-ten-be7aa6d1839f

Part 11: https://medium.com/@benrachinger/the-hacker-and-all-the-pms-men-part-eleven-2f3322a0b22a

Williamson should not stand for re-election in Pakuranga or elsewhere

The peculiar thing about this Maurice Williamson scandal, is that he intends to stand again in the Pakuranga electorate. Obviously, Williamson thinks his actions while not of the standard required of a Minister, are acceptable as an electorate MP. I’m not sure how he justifies the difference in standard, but obviously he doesn’t see any moral failing on his part. In tendering his resignation but publicising his intention to stand for re-election, he appears to only acknowledge that he has pissed off his party, for now.

Lets look at the moral failing here. Who in their right mind would call the Police on behalf of a person accused of assault on his wife and her mother if they weren’t intent on exercising some  influence over the building of the case against the accused. And why even raise the consideration that the accused in that case was a highly valued investor, if you weren’t intent on having the Police cut him some slack?

I can appreciate that what Williamson might have been doing was…no actually, I can’t. There is no justification here that warranted making that phone call to the NZ Police full stop.

Sure, Williamson didn’t explicitly ask the Police to grant any leniency in that case, and thankfully the Police treated the accused the same way as they would treat others accused in like circumstances, and continued with prosecution. But Williamson sure did imply that some ‘special’ consideration be given to the defendant based on his economic contributions to NZ.

I think Jono Natusch encapsulates the wrong in Williamson’s actions well:

Let’s get this straight. A Minister who rubber stamped Mr Liu’s citizenship against official advice (with Mr Liu then donating $22,000 to the National party via his company, Roncon Pacific Hotel Management), calls police when Mr Liu is arrested, and let’s it drop into the conversation that somebody needed to review the matter because “Mr Liu is investing a lot of money in New Zealand”.

That’s a hell of a statement to make if you’re “in no way looking to interfere with the process”.

The problem as I see it is that it doesn’t matter if Williamson was acting as a Minister or as an MP because there is never any justification for either to intervene in the criminal matters of any person prior to a case being heard in Court. From a legal standpoint, there might be exemptions where Ministers are entitled to intervene, but this is not one of those exceptions. It is for a judge to decide what is relevant evidence in an assault/domestic violence case, not for a Minister or MP to impute that evidence. Williamson acted outside his remit of power in proceeding to act representatively on behalf of the accused by making that call to the Police. Did Williamson even stop to think about the victims in this case and that there might be women in his electorate who are also victims of domestic violence, whom he re-victimised through his actions in respect of the accused ? Obviously not.

This is not the behaviour of Minister and it most certainly is not the behaviour of an MP.

How can any person think that someone’s economic contributions in any way create immunity or allow some respite when accused of assault?  Williamson makes it clear that protecting women from violence is not only subordinate to the needs of ‘highly valued’ investors but that he considers the degree of investment by an accused to be a mitigating factor in these cases!

There are of course those who think that Williamson has done nothing wrong. I find that deplorable. The general argument is that there was nothing questionable suggested in the phone calls so he shouldn’t have been forced to resign. But this ignores that there was no actual need for the phone call in the first place. The accused surely had a Lawyer to represent his interests, so there could be no other reason for Williamson to make the call, unless he thought his position of power had some influence in the building of the case against the accused.

Williamson is unfit to stand for re-election in either the Pakuranga electorate or elsewhere.

This talk about incest

Although the focus of Jamie Whyte’s comments about incest rapidly degenerated to his apparent advocacy for incestuous relationships and the open mocking of the very small minority of people who choose to enter incestuous relationships, the argument he was making was largely missed, that is,  whether the State should intervene in sexual or marital relationships between two consenting adults.

On The Ruminator website, Tim Batt asks a very provocative question, obviously to see how deep Whyte’s convictions are on freedom & liberty:

But what about incest – should the state intervene if adult siblings want to marry each other?

“Well personally, I don’t think they [the State] should. However, it’s a matter of almost no significance because it just doesn’t happen.”

Whyte then defended his comments in the NZH stating:

“I don’t think the state should intervene in consensual adult sex or marriage, but there are two very important elements here – consensual and adult”.

“I wonder who does believe the state should intervene in consensual adult acts?”

He said he was “very opposed” to incest.

“I find it very distasteful I don’t know why anybody would do it but it’s a question of principle about whether or not people ought to interfere with actions that do no harm to third parties just because they personally wouldn’t do it.”

The NZH have amended the previous article reporting that Whyte says:

“I regret the comments, mainly because I feel I let the party down,” he said.

Lets not beat around the bush, incest is morally repugnant to the vast majority of people. But do not forget that for many socially conservative types, homosexuality is also morally repugnant. Why do people feel justified in defending and actively seeking equality for consensual sexual and marital relationships between two consenting adults of the same-sex, but publicly ridicule a consensual adult relationship between two persons of the same biological family? I agree with Whyte, just because it’s not something we’d personally do, it doesn’t give us a right to ridicule those who do choose those relationships. Heterosexuals who support equality in LGBT relationships and who actively oppose bigoted statements against such relationships, should look at the arguments they use to justify one and vilify the other. I think the response has been largely vile from many (on the left) that attempt to marginalise a very small group of people who choose to enter incestuous relationships.

Arguments in favour of state intervention regarding incest, almost always revolve around the risk of sexual abuse. Whyte’s view on incest does not prevent criminal charges arising from sexual abuse. Where there is a lack of consent and/or where one (or both parties) are not ‘adults’, this abuse is already captured under the Crimes Act 1961. Many seem to conflate issues of rape, sexual assault and pedophilia with incest. It’s true that in many of those cases that incest occurs, but incest is not the violent act, it is the nature of the relationship between the two people. Moreover, he wasn’t even suggesting it become policy, he seemed to me to be addressing the principle behind why it ought not be illegal, rather than taking direct action to legalise it.

Whyte simply answered a question that to be fair, has not (as far as I know) been put to any other politician. In my opinion, he answered the question rationally, the way you’d probably expect from a Philosophy Professor.  However, rather than analysing the argument, it was a quick lurch into cousin f*king memes and conflating other sexual crimes with incest.

As a left identifying voter I hate that I feel compelled to defend Whyte’s comments.

Dope smoking in teens and IQ

A study undertaken in Dunedin found that adolescents who used cannabis and became dependent on it or used it regularly may suffer a decline in IQ later on in life but there were no significant changes in the IQ of participants who started using cannabis in adulthood. The researchers noted a number of limitations including that they could not rule out that their findings may be the result of an ‘unknown variable’. 
The experiment carried out by researchers at the University of Otago sought to test the popular belief held by adolescents that cannabis use was harmless and specifically focused on whether there is a prevalence of IQ decline in cannabis users who start smoking during adolescence. Note a potential bias: the study was founded by the ex-Chairman of DARE  – a drug and alcohol resistance organisation targeted at adolescents and was funded by government institutions in both NZ and the US including other organisations whose objective was to reduce drug and alcohol abuse and organisations who sought to improve the wellbeing of children and young people. Arguably, the research may have been tailored to prove that cannabis use in adolescence was harmful. 
The study group initially comprised of 1037 people born between 1972 and 1973 but in the last wave of the study at age 38 only 96% of the 1004 living study members re-tested. IQ tests were performed in childhood every 2 years from age 7 until 13, prior to the onset of cannabis use with the final test occurring when participants were 38 years old. The researchers conducted the study in waves and split the participants into groups dependent on their level of cannabis use or dependence. Researchers compared the IQ of participants showing persistent cannabis dependence (PCD)** and persistent cannabis use (PCU)*** to those who had never used cannabis. Use of cannabis in the day or week preceding the test is unlikely but the researchers admit this may not be accurate because the participants were not lab tested. Other controls used included hard drug or alcohol use, schizophrenia and education.   
The study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) found that there was a statistically significant decline in neuropsychological function and mean IQ test scores in the PCD and PCU groups, which was not apparent in the never used group. 
The never used group exhibited a positive effect size of 0.05 on average indicating an increase in mean IQ compared to the negative effect sizes of -0.38 and -0.35 on average for the PCD and PCU groups respectively corresponding to a decrease of about ~6 IQ points. 
It can be estimated with 95% confidence that the never used group showed a mean difference in their full scale IQ on average somewhere between 85.39 and 115.89 IQ points, in comparison to the PCD group who showed a mean difference somewhere between 80.61 and 107.25 IQ points on average. The study identifies that those in the PCD group improved in the arithmetic, block design and picture completion subtests, the areas where the never used group showed decreases. This could possibly correlate to the results that show some PCD and PCU participants would have the same IQ as some of those who have never used cannabis despite the general declines measured overall.
The researchers recommend that policy decisions focus on delaying the onset of cannabis use in adolescence, and suggested funding further research to provide definitive results in light of limitations documented in the study. 

Arguably, some further limitations might include the possibility of participants practicing IQ tests prior to testing, for instance, if the participants knew they might be IQ tested they might have wanted to improve their past IQ results. Additionally, occupation could also be a factor in the results, such that those who use higher-level problem solving and verbal comprehension skills on a daily basis – some of the main skills tested, may perform better on these tests in comparison those who have low skilled or unskilled roles or who are unemployed. The sampling frame was very narrow involving only participants from Dunedin, so with a larger and more diverse sample the results may differ. Finally, comparative studies with populations known to be persistent users such as those identifying as Rastafarian, could provide a valuable insight into the neuropsychological functioning of different ethnicities in response to cannabis use. 
In my view there are multiple limitations in this study and I am therefore not convinced that it is cannabis use in adolescence which led to the results found by the study, but other variables not considered by the study. However, in saying that, the study does show that there is at least a risk that cannabis use in adolescence may lead to IQ decline later on in life.  Results for adult onset cannabis use were insignificant leading researchers to conclude that the IQ decline was not prevalent among the adult onset group. 
*The graph was composed based on the results in Table 1 of the actual study and is not an image from the study itself. The error bars in the graph indicate the standard deviation of the mean IQ scores on average.
**Persistent cannabis dependence was defined according to the number of waves at which participants met the cannabis dependence criteria. For the purpose of this article, the 3+ group are the focus.
***Persistent cannabis use was determined through regularity which was defined as 4 or more times per week. For the purpose of this article the 3+ group are the focus. 
This information in this post was predominantly sourced from an assignment I completed for Uni that has yet to be graded. 

Coronial Inquest: Kahui Twins

By now, the general public will be aware of the coronial findings issued by Coroner Garry (with two r’s) Evans. After some dispute from Chris Kahui and his Lawyer in the High Court, these findings have now become publicly available, albeit with some adjustments.
Whilst many are reappraising the opinions they held about Macsyna King, others are still hellbent on asserting her guilt in the death of these boys.
John Campbell’s interview received mixed reviews on various social media sites – those with open minds reflecting on their part in the demonising of Macsyna King, while others maintained their intial opinions still stand, and that she is ‘guilty as hell’.
Coroner Evans has determined that there is not a scintilla of evidence to suggest that Macsyna was in any way involved in the injuries that lead to the death of her twins. As the Coroner’s job is to determine all the factors contributing to unnatural and suspicious deaths, his determinations are made on all the available evidence from forensic reports, Police Statements, Expert evidence and so on. What the Coroner has revealed, is that after assessing all the information available to him is that the evidence suggests that that Chris Kahui contributed to the death of his twins.
The problem Macsyna now faces is that the many who still find her actions attributable to the boys death will continue to publicly discredit her. Its interesting that in spite of the detailed investigation into the twins deaths, by an experienced and objective adjudicator, with the full assistance of the Police who have an interest in prosecuting persons suspected of crimes,  Macsyna is destined for a life of verbal battering form the self-appointing public judiciary usually found wallowing in the  backwaters of talkback.
I’m not here proclaiming that she is a saint. I don’t know Macsyna or Chris. All I am saying is that the Coroner is the best position to determine her role if any in the death of the twins. If he found her actions to be negligent on the basis of the information he had available to him, then he would have said so. My point is that there is no rational basis for continuing to defame her character in light of the information now available to the public.

The findings can be found here:
http://www.justice.govt.nz/courts/coroners-court/coroner-releases-kahui-finding