A right wing conspiracy | The Jackal

23 Aug 2014

A right wing conspiracy

In just over a week we've gone from the Prime Minister claiming that nothing in Nicky Hager's new book, Dirty Politics, was true to irrefutable proof that Ministers and their staff were directly involved in smear campaigns using the poisonous blog site, Whale Oil Beef Hooked.

What has transpired in the last ten days is nothing less than remarkable and shows that the National party was using attack bloggers like Cameron Slater and David Farrar as a front to publish their own dirty and disgusting propaganda, something that should be entirely unacceptable to most voters in a fair and decent democracy like New Zealand.

While John Key was trying to say that Hager was nothing more than a conspiracy theorist and that left wing political parties were somehow involved in the Dirty Politics scandal, the truth of the matter is that a number of high-ranking Minister's within National's inner circle were conspiring together to anonymously attack members of the public, parliamentary staffers and left wing politicians.

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

Minister's staffer took part in blog 
The press secretary of Cabinet minister Gerry Brownlee has admitted posting anonymously to the Whale Oil blog as the impact of Dirty Politics continues to hit the election campaign.

Nick Bryant was named in Dirty Politics as the person who had used the pseudonym "Former Hack" to post anonymous comments encouraging blogger Cameron Slater's campaign against a public servant which resulted in death threats.

The Herald was able to confirm the use of Mr Bryant's ministerial computer through details obtained from an individual other than the hacker who also accessed information from Whale Oil during the Denial of Service attack.

Under "Former Hack", Mr Bryant told Slater "well done" on a post which attacked Simon Pleasants. He told others he agreed calls should be placed to ask why Mr Pleasants was still employed and told Slater "you might have one for the harpoon gallery there" - the so-called Whale Oil roll call of sacked officials.

Cabinet minister Gerry Brownlee’s press secretary, Nick Bryant, was clearly gloating about the success of National’s latest smear campaign against what by all other accounts is a completely innocent person. There’s no doubt in my mind that their groundless and underhanded attack caused the public servant, Simon Pleasants, a large amount of personal and professional damage.

Mr Pleasants is the same public servant whose personal details were sent from Justice Minister Judith Collins to Slater, which were then published on the blog. The information shows the people who comment on Whale Oil have effectively lost their anonymity.

In the file held by the Herald, hundreds of messages sent from people working on ministerial or government computers are linked to the servers and IP addresses from which they were posted. The file links those details with email addresses - including Mr Bryant's.

Instead of working for New Zealand, the National party and those they employ have been wasting their and our time making disgusting and pathetic comments on Whale Oil Beef Hooked. They were in effect using large amounts of taxpayer's money to anonymously troll the Internet.

Asked if he had posted to Whale Oil, Mr Bryant initially said: "I don't know."

When asked if he used the name "Former Hack" to do so, he said: "Nicky Hager said I was the person who posted as that."

Told of the new information, Mr Bryant said: "What I will say is I stopped commenting around that time. They were about the only comments I made on that blog."

Mr Hager's book links Mr Bryant to another anonymous name - but the Herald has found the email account linked to messages from the person is actually registered in the name of yet another ministerial staff member.

A spokesman for Internal Affairs refused to comment on individual staff members. He said "appropriate action" would be taken against a staff member who acted inappropriately.
Press secretary Nick Bryant

With such robust evidence showing that a large number of Ministerial staffer’s were using right wing blog sites like Whale Oil Beef Hooked to anonymously attack people they didn’t like, there’s no question that Minister’s like Gerry Brownlee, Judith Collins and Anne Tolley were aware, if not directly involved in such despicable and reprehensible behaviour.

In fact all the evidence is starting to paint a pretty damning and detailed picture that shows National’s dirty politics is a right wing conspiracy orchestrated by the Prime Minister himself no less. In light of recent developments, surely an early retirement with a nice holiday in Hawaii is in order for the ringleader of National's dirty politics, John Key?