Media Statement from Cameron Slater on Benjamin Rachinger and the hack of The Standard that never actually happened

Media Statement from Cameron Slater on Benjamin Rachinger and the hack of The Standard that never actually happened.

A lot of time has passed since the criminal hacker took the bulk of my emails and Facebook chats as part of a planned conspiracy against the Right.  And a significant amount of time has passed since my last public statement about Ben Rachinger and the alleged hacking into The Standard blog.  

A lot has happened. A lot continues to happen. And my approach has been to say almost nothing to stop it getting in the way of several police complaints, active investigations and court cases I am directly or peripherally involved in. Mostly as the complainant, I’d like to add.

All of this is connected to Kim Dotcom, to the NZ Police, to the NZ Herald, TV3, Colin Craig and several people I can still not name due to other court commitments.  But the Ben Rachinger “The Standard hack” issue has now resolved itself to the point where it can be talked about with some degree of isolation without getting in the way of the other issues before the authorities.

Today, with the lifting of the Police-requested and Court-ordered suppression, I am taking the opportunity to do two things. 

I’m going to make a number of factual statements today in this release, and I am going to write a number of articles that will delve into some of the detail of what has developed.  The first will be published on whaleoil.co.nz later today.

Ben and I worked together for a considerable amount of time. During that period, I understood that we were trying to find out more information as to who was behind the hacking of my emails and data.  

To discover information that could assist the NZ Police and hopefully to prosecute the people involved in the planning, the hacking, the person that paid for it, the people that distributed the information and the people who made money from it.

For months Ben and I were on the same team.  Or so I thought.  I am a sucker for people that are broken and need help, and Ben fitted and I believe still fits that category.  His personal problems are publicly documented by Ben himself elsewhere, but I wasn’t aware of some of these at the time.  As part of our working relationship, he did regularly claim financial hardship, and I even attempted to organise regular work for him.  All this is already on public record.

At some point, Ben stopped being an ally, and turned on me.  It may very well have been his plan to do so from the beginning, but when I was paying him to assist in doing research and tracking information based on his claims of being connected to the “hacking scene”, he obviously kept that relationship functional as I was a source of money to fund his expensive needs.

 

My state of mind at the time is relevant here.  The world was out to get me.  I’d been the subject of a three month continuous barrage of political and media attention, most of it with the intention to judge me in the Court of Public Opinion to have broken the law as a “Dirty Politics” operator that works with politicians, media, industry, public relations, spin doctors and interested individuals.

Media would camp out on my doorstep.  There were threats to my life, my family’s life and well being, and I quietly moved to a different place to live. One of those threats has subsequently resulted in someone being convicted and having been deprived of his liberty. This was all very real to me.  I definitely had fallen into a siege mentality.

During this period, media from the NZ Herald and TV3 specifically, but others generally, were hounding me and trying to frame the argument that I had done something illegal when I worked as a practitioner of the Dark Political Arts.

Few people will have sat through a 7 hour interview without a break, alone, facing several highly skilled professional interrogators with long backgrounds in New Zealand’s security services, where they hammer you on every detail, repeatedly.  Like a criminal in fact.   

As we know now, nothing that happened under the guise of what has now become known as Dirty Politics broke any laws.  People may not like the tactics, but there was nothing to charge anyone over.  Nothing.  Not just me.  Anyone.

That didn’t stop my political opponents, as it shouldn’t.  I would have done the same to them.  But where things got out of hand was that certain people working for the media also joined the attempt to destroy me, my friends, my contacts and my network.

People have lost their jobs.  Employers were rung and scared with one-sided information.  A good Minister lost her job.   Others have been hurt financially and reputationally.  

We all know about the game of Politics, but following a criminal attempt to subvert an election, to have certain elements in media use their employers’ and private resources to attempt to destroy me, my family, my friends and colleagues was a whole new low.

 

It is with this back story that I was isolated, angry and deeply resentful at the hypocrisy of media who were on the one hand claiming all the rights, protections and expectations of being journalists for themselves and Mr Hager, but none of those applied to me only because I was and remain a commercial threat and am deeply disliked for being effective at what I do.

Additionally, I was and remain intensely resentful of the usual commentators on the left and in the media that had made it their personal project to destroy me – professionally and personally.  

Destroying me was the ultimate objective that started with that meeting where a plan was made to put so much pressure on, that I might even take my own life.  So it was stated at the time.  And credit where it is due, some people walked out of that meeting at that stage.  They knew it had gone too far.

But that was the world I lived in at the time.  The pivotal point was when Ben Rachinger told me he had access to parts of The Standard blog that aren’t public.   I always suspected The Standard and the Labour Party to have formal ties, and it would prove they too did exactly the same as what National and I stood accused of:  play politics.

It is important that you understand the sequence of events.  Ben has been extremely vocal on the Internet and with the help of TV3, and none of his claims have been publicly rebutted.  Today, that changes.

 

I did not order the hacking of The Standard blog.  Ben told me he already had access to some data he obtained from The Standard.  Parts of our conversation surrounding that have subsequently been released by Ben, but it is incomplete, out of sequence and it recasts certain facts in a context that simply isn’t true.

Please keep in mind that those incorrect and out of sequence cherry picked facts were surrounded by a narrative spun by Ben, and then amplified and misrepresented by hostile bloggers, media and especially Ben’s champions at TV3.

Ben also told me he was working together with Manukau police on tracking down Rawshark.  He has stated as much on TV3 when they ran their extended story on him.

This was a huge validation point for me.  He would regularly chat about what he was doing in a general sense, or that his police handlers were in the room with him while they were trying to trick certain people in “hacking” chat rooms to give up information by using Ben’s self proclaimed social engineering skills.  It was Ben typing, but the police were asking the questions and writing down the answers.

Please keep that in mind.  I believed what Ben was up to was part of a police sanctioned activity up to that point.

 

When, as part of working together with police, Ben dangled what I thought was hard proof of The Standard being complicit with working together with Rawshark, at that point, I made a mistake.  I thought he had come across it as part of his work with the Police, and he was giving me a sneaky glimpse.

I was so eager to finally make some progress against those that I know have been involved in the larger conspiracy against me personally, that I made the mistake of wanting to see what Ben said he had access to.

In hindsight, it is all so obvious now.  Ben wouldn’t let me see it unless I paid him for it.  I wasn’t paying for anything I hadn’t seen.

It should have stopped there.   But I wanted it too much.

So Ben sent some samples.

These samples, he claimed were what he obtained from The Standard.  At that stage I was so extremely excited.  It clearly fingered at least one individual that I believed to be involved.   I was on the hook, and Ben was reeling the line in.  I could see real justice coming my way.  I needed something to go my way so badly.

Ben wanted $5,000 for what he described as The Standard data he held.  That’s not the sort of money I have access to at the drop of a hat, especially as Ben had been regularly requesting and receiving a living wage from me already.  I needed to organise a sponsor to assist.  

I wanted to see a little more, because most of what he provided was just encrypted and inaccessible.  It could have been anything.  (In the end, it proved to be exactly that).

Ultimately, Ben didn’t produce anything more and the whole relationship turned sour as my critical thinking and suspicions finally took control over my basic need to get some progress against “Team Rawshark”.  All money was now cut off, and I ceased to be of use to Ben.  This is when he turned.  Or at least, this is when the next phase of his plan to destroy me was initiated.

Unfortunately, at that stage, I had been dragged across the line, and I had committed the offence of “Attempting to access a computer for a dishonest purpose”.

 

The owner of The Standard laid a police complaint that I had asked for and paid for a hack into their computer system based on Ben’s public accusations.  That resulted in both Ben and I being questioned by NZ Police.  

I handed over all the information, all the emails, and even an encrypted phone with the password.  Police could see it all. More importantly, they could see it in the right sequence and in full context, something that Ben and TV3 had carefully crafted in public to appear something quite different.

In the end, Police reached the conclusion that I’d been stupid rather than a hardened criminal.  I wanted what Ben said to be true so much, that I stepped over the line.  And Ben, credit where it is due, created the trust, then the irresistible bait, and then he managed to use my feelings of anger and injustice against me.

Both Ben and I were charged.   

 

The police insisted on full suppression because they didn’t want the media to blow this thing sky high.  Police were aware that Ben and TV3 had been working hand-in-hand for some time, not just as a source and journalist, but also as a security consultant. The police wanted the process up to this point to be allowed to progress without it turning into a media circus.  Hence the suppression request.

This did leave me in an interesting position of having crusaded against name suppression and actually benefiting from name suppression, something that insiders found hard to stomach.

So here’s the central core of the whole situation:  Ben never hacked The Standard, and I never ordered the hack.

Unfortunately for me, the law doesn’t see it that way.  The law says that making arrangements to have a crime committed is punishable exactly the same as if you committed the crime yourself.  Even if it didn’t happen.  And especially if your partner in the fictitious crime is busy defrauding you by making you believe something that isn’t true.  The law is somewhat unkind that way.

Ben may not have hacked The Standard, but he did create and/or provide documents with the intent to convince me that he had.   And based on those documents, I got conned into discussing payment to see the rest, which at the beginning I believed actually existed.  You have no idea how much I wanted to believe it was all real.  Well, perhaps you do.

In my tortured mind, there was little difference to that and what Hager had done.  Take hacked information, publicise it, and the public interest would outweigh the fact that a line was crossed.  

As I, and now you, know, somehow the standards that are applied to Mr Hager are different to those that I have faced.  But I have I accepted that I had gone too far.

 

Although this was a huge event in my life, to the NZ Police this was humourous more than it was the crime of the century.  From their perspective they had a journalist and a con-man winding each other up about a few fake files.   Both of the parties allegedly broke the law.  Both got hurt, and both would clearly not do the same stupid thing again.

Both Ben and I were therefore offered diversion.  Adult Diversion is a scheme where people who have strayed on the wrong side of the law, who have no history of doing so, show contrition and are highly unlikely to do that again are offered to carry out a number of public and personal tasks in exchange for having their charge wiped.

Part of my diversion was to undergo professional counselling to ensure the court knows that I understand the rights and wrongs and to give me appropriate coping strategies if I ever find myself in a similar situation.  (Let’s hope not – the last two years surely can never happen twice?)  

Diversion allows for my mistake to go un-recorded officially.  So officially I don’t have a conviction.  I do understand that this is a practical way to give people like me a clean slate to ensure I never make a similar mistake.  But it doesn’t mean I’m not guilty of wanting to use data that I believed to have come from The Standard to expose my opponents and to save myself in the process.   I did it the wrong way.  I let myself down, and I let my supporters down.  For that I am truly sorry.

Ben on the other hand has refused diversion.  It is not for me to speculate what his reasoning is behind this.  Ben continues to be a man with many demons, and I am aware he feels slighted by the NZ Police and even the Minister of Police, who rather interestingly, in the meantime, is Judith Collins.  (You couldn’t make this stuff up!)

I know that Media and TV3 specifically have worked very hard to make sure that Ben can tell his story to the world.  The story goes much further than the one I’ve told you today.  Ben alleges that he’s a victim of Police misconduct and high level political interference.  He’s got proof, apparently, and will argue his points in court in cases other than mine.

 

As far as I understand it, Ben has taken the position that he is not guilty of the charge leveled against him (Obtaining by deception).  I guess that now that the suppression orders have lapsed, you will get to see more of that in the media, including Ben’s reasoning behind refusing diversion and going on this particular path.  As I understand it, he believes that trapping me in a crime was part of what Police asked him to do, and as a result, he should not face the consequences of breaking the law himself.

I will follow these developments with keen interest, as I can no longer tell what parts of Ben’s journey are based on truth, and the parts that have been carefully crafted.  First to continue the Dirty Politics attack against me, and subsequently the huge mess he’s created trying to justify and extricate himself.

I realise my statement today will raise more questions than it has answered, and media specifically will be trying to get hold of me for interviews.  As I consider some journalists and reporters hostile and to some degree complicit in the Rawshark hack, Hager book and Whaledump fallout, I am not likely to be on TV or on Radio to talk about this.  Instead, you can read the articles as they appear on my blog.

If media insist on wanting to contact me, please consider emailing your questions, and I’ll review your request on a case by case basis.

 

To close, I’d like to thank the NZ Police for their work.  In the end, I forced them into a corner where the law required a charge to be laid.  And that was my fault alone.  I’d like to thank my family, my support crew and my ever so loyal Whaleoil readers.  Who knows where all this could have ended up if it wasn’t for your support.

Today, a new chapter starts.  A chapter where I start fighting back in public, rather than continue to suffer the uncontested lies perpetrated by my political opponents and aided and abetted by personally motivated, well resourced and complicit media.

My first article on what happened will be published on whaleoil.co.nz later today.

— end —

Cam Slater
Editor – Whaleoil
[email protected]

 

 


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  • Push back begins. It will be interesting

    • How long have you been quiet on everything now? Must feel good to have at least some of the restraints taken away.

      • Yes it feels good. Unfortinately many in the media party and bloggers and of course the weasel Rachinger aren’t going to like the truth being told.

        • When is the next post then? Not much of “later today” left.

          • 5pm Pete…that could prove embarrassing for some media who ahve piled in without bothering to find out my side of the story

          • HR

            Given what I have read on other sites in the last 20 minutes or so, well played….

          • They have invested in Ben Rachinger, they are going to find out how poorly that investment will pay off.

          • Left Right Out

            Looking at whats been ringing around the last couple of days the MSM seem to invest poorly, often

        • Time For Accountability

          Study the wiki for Lance Corporal Jones for tactics and quotes.

  • Cadwallader

    Thank you for your openness. I trust this proves to be a cleansing process.

    • There will be a lot of cleansing in coming days…including some Dirty Politics revelations.

      • murrayirwin

        And we look forward to those.

  • cassandra

    A masterful piece by the herald, masquerading as a news story but in reality a multilevel personal attack on cam.

    More sinned against than sinning, I say.

    • phronesis

      David Fisher has so little a grip on what happened that he gets the backers and the hackers confused.

      “The diversion process means Slater will not have a conviction for attempting to hire someone to carry out exactly the same crime that he has complained was done to him by the backer known as “Rawshark”.”

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    • Quinton Hogg

      Mr Hagars comments on this subject suggest that he is not happy both about the focus being taken from the Panama Papers and the outcome of the Police Prosecution.
      Oh dear how sad. never mind.

      • Keeping Stock

        Just a hunch, but I’d say Mr Hager’s feelings aren’t especially high on Cameron’s list of priorities right now. Nor should they be.

    • kayaker

      Actually Hager failed last night too – The Bachelor knocked the Panama Papers off Twitter trending. Take that Hager!

      edit: spelling

  • Time For Accountability

    The higher you go in the legal system starting at say the District Court, then the more interesting interpretation the judges apply to a situation. The upper end often don’t look behind the scenes at the basic intent, facts or end result rather they want to be known for their interpretation of the Evidence Act.
    At first sight a dodgy person walking down the street could be charged with intent to burgle and I know someone who did exactly that and did time. He pleaded guilty on advice of his lawyer. Eventually an aspect was reviewed in court and a different judge said, the person could have had the intent when he left home, but before he entered the target property he could have changed his mind and thus not been guilty. It was wrong for the police to pick him up off the street.
    So the tie intent is measured at the instant before the act.
    I would be interested to know at what court level the intent ruling was applied.

    • Look I just couldn’t be bothered fighting it. It was easier take what was offered and move on. Ben Rachinger though made a rod for his back with his grandstanding and now he will have to deal with the consequences, one of which will likely result in his conviction for fraud.

      • Time For Accountability

        I understand the practicality of accepting it and moving on and often hear myself saying that to clients. I commend you for making that decision

        The other side are repetitive and resurface again at a deeper level with deeper penalties. There is a 90% chance you won’t need to do anything to see justice done.

  • Mrs_R

    Looking forward to the new chapter – the one where you let the dogs out (so to speak). Those who were complicit in the lies, and in the effort to destroy both yourself and WO should be named and shamed. You are stronger than most, and you have nothing to apologise for other than human nature. It’s only natural to want justice when you have been wronged. Your personal information was after all stolen. I cannot see how certain individuals can continue to peddle stolen information under the banner of ‘public interest’ and experience absolutely no repercussion. That just seems wrong.

  • Odd Ball

    Thank you for been upfront about this, it’s understandable that you misjudged someone when you were under extreme pressure. After all, that was their intention.

    Oh and a hint for the future -be careful trying to help broken people, they might be in an unfortunate situation because they do it to themselves on a regular basis.

    • Yes especially tweakers and boozers.

      • STAG

        but they present as such tragic’s you can’t help but want to help. We’ve all bitten at some stage by someone we tried to help.

  • spanishbride

    Stuff has published a whooping lie from Rachinger.
    Quote :’ *Ben Rachinger initially helped Slater run WhaleOil.’
    I will add this to the list of other outrageous claims Ben has made. No doubt these will all be revealed over time here on WO now that we no longer have to stand by biting our tongues while Ben sprays his conflicting stories all over the internet.

    • Punter

      I see stuff keeps ‘amending’ their article…

  • Keeping Stock

    Well who would have thunk it. The gloating attack piece in the Herald is written by none other than David Fisher himself, biographer of Kim Dotcom. I guess Gurnard has had time to spare, what with being out of the loop on the Panana Papers sting and all that.

    Thank you for telling your story in such detail Cam, and I hope that this will be the beginning of a process of restoration for you, for SB, and for the others close to you whose privacy was invaded by Rawshark, and whoever his paymaster was.

  • Wheninrome

    It is said timing is everything, this couldn’t be better. Loving the 5pm extra release time.

  • Huia

    Well Cameron, you and yours have been through the mill haven’t you?
    Writing that must have been cathartic for you, the well written explanation you have given us goes a long way to explaining some things which were obviously going on in the background.
    I can imagine how easy it must have been to place the trust and hope into receiving something you could hit the detractors with, but an error of judgment as it turns out. That’s the problem with we humans, we are vulnerable and sometimes make mistakes.
    Onwards and upwards eh?
    Thankyou for your honesty, it is appreciated by this avid reader of your wonderful site. Also congratulations on climbing through the mud and crap they were throwing at you and your family, you must have a very loving strong unit, I, for one, am pleased you do as you can draw strength from each other.
    Keep doing what you do as you do it so well.
    Thankyou.

  • Melissa

    A positive note. If there hadn’t been so much in the news about WO at the time perhaps some of us would never have wandered into this blog to see what all the fuss was about. We saw, liked what we saw and we stayed . This blog is now my main go to site for what really goes on in NZ.

    • Boondecker

      I would attest to being affected in the same way. I’ve had a huge amount of suspicion regarding the mainstream media since I was a kid (for reasons which are not relevant here so I won’t bore you), but the more I heard of WO, the more I wanted to find out about it. I was very pleasantly surprised. For me too, this is my go-to source for the nitty gritty for the likes of REAL NEWS that the Herald, ZB and TVNZ and TV3 wouldn’t and never offer up.

      Calling in on WO is a very positive note several times a day – and an enjoyable one too.

    • Left Right Out

      Same here…. it was those stories that made me come and look….. and I’ve never left

    • TheRobberDog

      Don’t forget Incite!!!!! :-)

      • Melissa

        Yeah, I think I’m probably going to have to fork out for this, just pretend it’s part of the grocery bill!!

        • Try the next issue out. We’re polling right now. Should be interesting to see where National/Labour are at now after this Panama Papers event.

          • Melissa

            Ok, sign me up.How do I order?

          • If only I got commission! ;)

            https://gumroad.com/l/incitepolitics

          • Wasapilot

            You will not regret it Melissa, a great read, fair and balanced commentary from right across the poloical spectrum.

          • Nige.

            It’s unlike anything else around. It is truely insightful and comprehensive yet is very digestible.

  • Left Right Out

    There is a lot to admire of people who stand up and say the got it wrong….. When you recognise that you got it wrong or made a mistake you are on the path to rectifying the wrong/mistake.

    It also shows the true character of a person. Well written piece that pulls no punches and lays it all out.

    I know your not looking for mine, or others, approval…. but just know there are plenty out there that believe in you and the work you do

    cheers

  • I hope Judge McIlraith is watching the comments, the death threats have started. He didn’t think this was such a problem.

    • Boondecker

      As a result, I guess the police will be receiving some fresh information from you this evening too.

      • Company policy. All threats are reported to police.

      • Left Right Out

        We live in an amazing place, sadly full of some sad individuals

    • JEL51

      When was it that this Ben guy in your face? Before or after Andy became Leader of Labour? I think zb’s news room is already being ‘loose’ with facts around your disclosure.

      • Before…it was immediately after Dirty Politics. And Before Andrew Little was leader.

        • JEL51

          That’s not quite the impression their newsroom is portraying. listen to the 5:30 bulletin.

          • They are part of the Herald so dishonesty is par for the course

          • JEL51

            Our dear blond is on in place of Larry so guessing any correction won’t be forthcoming soon.

  • cows4me

    When it’s all said and done there’s a lesson of caution for us all. I’ve laughed at some of the stories about Nigerian scammers and their victims, I’ve shaken my head when people have handed over thousands to people they have fallen in love with over the net. Life is far from black or white and it’s impossible to tell the hidden agendas of those using the other keyboard even those that have made the internet their business can be victims. I guess the real lesson is to question everything you want to believe, many times.

  • I believe Cam would have had his charges dismissed. But in the end it was easier to go this route. There are bigger fights, like Colin Craig trying to extract the smaller part of a million dollars out of Cam.

    • spanishbride

      I wanted to fight this but the emotional and mental toll would have been too high. There is a valuable saying that I love.

      ‘Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?’

      In this case, the cost of proving ourselves right would have been too high. Our mental health is far too precious. The additional strain of another court battle would have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. No one here is superman or superwoman. We all have our limit.

      • Lux

        And what amazing fortitude you all have shown, and long may it continue.

  • hookerphil

    Item 2 on Prime with a superficial slur just as one would expect.

    • Remember TV3 produce Prime News now…They are donkey deep in this sting….as you will find out in coming days.

  • KGB

    No surprises here, I too have done things, said things, taken things I shouldn’t have.
    I would have found the opportunity for revenge and justice … simply irresistible.
    Dont beat yourself up too much, it’s not our mistakes that define us.
    ?

  • IKIDUNOT

    I bet you are enjoying the duck season extra this year ……:))

    • I need to hunt some rats

      • Good idea.. I hear there will be a huge need for other people to swallow them. Kaching!

  • Eiselmann

    Well the way I look at it, you made a mistake under incredibly stressful circumstances, can’t say I would have acted differently (thou I can’t say I wouldn’t have). If I agreed with you 100 percent of the time I’d be gutted.

    However I don’t agree with you all the time .So In the end I have to ask which version of the events I would accept as more likely….the one from the man who I agree with most of the time , or the one I don’t know much about, who is backed by a media agency that employs people who think they are above the law and constantly back political horses I can’t abide.

    Not exactly a hard choice really

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    • Vutekno

      lprent, in those few words incapsulates the Left. Fear of a little work and extreme abuse of the tiny power they hold plus of course the base reversion to bad language as an option to good debate.

  • kehua

    No need to apologise for anything, you have certainly not offended nor I suspect any other reader of this Blog who is a “follower“ of the WOBH community. My ol man used to say `give em enough rope` and over the years I have seen this come to fruition many times. Have to admit to being a little harsh to Ben on the few times that he ventured amongst us , I could not hide the fact that I thought he was immature and flaky. Look forward to the rest of this saga as it unfolds. Keep up the great work Team.

  • Pluto

    My bet remains with Cam and WOBH. The truth will endure.
    My regret is that Cam won’t front foot it, even with a hostile media.
    Better to front up i’d say.

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