Another day, another phish

As if we need this stuff floating around. Remember: Don’t click!

These things look pretty sophisticated. Some people will be fooled.

I’m still not taking this personally.

– P

Phishing attacks – be careful out there

I got this by email tonight:

FAKE. If you get one, do NOT ‘Click Here’. It’s not really from Apple.

You can’t be too careful. The ‘Click Here’ link goes off to a php page citing Ottawa, and the sender, far from being Apple, shows up as a local (i.e. xtra.co.nz) email address – probably hacked.

Drop me a line if you’re a security researcher and you want a copy of the full email with headers etc.

I don’t take this stuff personally – just like I don’t take the threats and abusive stuff that’s directed my way by obviously upset, frustrated people who appear to have a capacity to dish it out which isn’t matched by their ability to take it.

– P

The defamation case that never was

Colin Craig cross examining Cameron Slater during their Auckland High Court defamation proceedings.

Prompted by a reported comment in court yesterday where dirty PR attack blogger Cameron Slater claimed to be “…by profession a journalist; I was simply doing my job” I had a wry chuckle at how far Slater Jnr has come from ‘Peter, FFS, I’m not a journalist, I’m a partisan blogger, when will you fucking understand that?‘… and then took a quick fossick through my Dirty Politics archive.

I came across a 2014 article (below) featuring MP Mark Mitchell which mentioned the ‘job’ Slater and his puppet master Simon Lusk did for him. It’s all in Nicky Hager’s book, Dirty Politics. But the ‘job’ they did wasn’t journalism. In fact, the ‘job’ they did for Mitchell reminded me of this:

Norovirus – by profession a micro-organism; simply doing its job infecting people and giving them the shits.

The article in question provided a platform for Mark Mitchell to make bold statements via his local paper, the Rodney Times, which in turn made its own bold prediction in the first paragraph: “Mark Mitchell is likely to take legal action over Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics“.

Oh really? “…a defamation case” no less. … “likely to”? Continue reading →

US Senate adopts Signal, HTTPS a year after trying to kill encryption

In today’s dose of irony …

pic: mailchimp

After some attempts to backdoor encryption, led by Senators Dianne Feinstein (CA) and Richard Burr (NC), who are also the top ranking members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, the Senate staff has been approved to use the Signal messenger. Signal is currently considered by most experts as the most secure way to communicate due to its open source nature, use of end-to-end encryption, and self-destructing messages.

US Senate Adopts Signal, HTTPS A Year After Trying To Kill Encryption

via @Tomshardware

High Noon for duelling banjos Slater & Craig

Snowflake Cameron Slater and team do ‘walkies’ to court for news media. Video grab: Chris McKeen/Fairfax NZ

One way or another Cameron Slater is going to have to get used to not having Colin Craig as a meal ticket/bogeyman to scare funds out of his cult members.

It’s been awful watching Slater, his deputy dog Pete Belt, and wife Juana Atkins milk the outrage and paranoia they have foamed up among the branded cap wearers who read their dreadful website. They’ve rabbited on to their readers about nasty ‘bullying’ Colin Craig trying to ‘silence’ their ‘truth-telling’ website … (excuse me, I need to find a spittoon) … while repeatedly raising ‘defence’ funds from them.

Sure, we all love begging bowl kitty, but the repeated use of ‘Oh noes, we need your money because we are sooo intimidated by nasty Colin Craig who wants to [sob] shut us down and take the food off our table’ (or words to that effect) gave me the heebie-jeebies after a while.
Likewise the peddling of their own victimhood, laced with attacks on Craig, like this from January referring to “Colin deep pockets Craig” and “vexatious Colin Craig”:

I guess nobody ever went broke overestimating the gullibility of readers of the Slater PR attack blog

Why, if they didn’t have Colin Craig to rally around as a fund-raising theme, they’d have to invent him.

Juana Atkins clutches victimhood and simultaneously threatens Craig with public exposure of “every juicy and sordid detail”. I don’t know about you, but I find that… troubling.

Of course, I could  be completely misunderstanding this whole situation. It could be Juana is right and Colin Craig is really determined to dedicate his life and his fortune to smashing the innocent truth-telling angels over at Whaleoil into the ground for no reason whatsoever except angry ‘vexatiousness’. All they did at the Slater family hate blog was ‘tell the truth’. And now, to defend themselves the Slaters have to expose ‘every sordid detail’. Sure. Could be. Maybe. Is that how you read that?

Continue reading →

What a photo of Patrick Gower!

Wow. Great shot. Talk about moody.

Click to enlarge (if you dare).

Source: Newshub Features on Twitter.

I’ve recently been thinking (again) about how media organizations harvest people-in-the-news’s social media profiles – often without permission and often murky about attribution – Source: “supplied” or “Facebook”.

I hope I don’t sound too much like a hypocrite because I do use pix “published” on social media,  (like this example) but my view is that different rules apply to people in the public eye by choice (e.g. political commentators, activists, those suing others for defamation – Jordan Williams ticks all those boxes, eh?) than to those who find themselves of interest to the news media accidentally, incidentally, as a result of unfortunate circumstances or victimhood.


I’ve seen the unsavoury operators of local PR attack blogs use exposure of private life details, including photos, as a cudgel to beat down their targets. There’s only so much even an outspoken voice can/will put up with. The bullies/paid character assassins count on the mortifying effect of naming names and seeing other personal details being published, often surrounded by negative ‘comment’ – and some of that attacking ‘comment’, as we have seen, is dishonest: sock puppetry. AstroTurf.

Often this form of ‘doxxing’ is carried out in a vile way, in an obvious effort to hurt and embarrass the victim/target. The objective is to damage their reputation (slander, aspersions, defamation as we’ve discussed) with what is effectively a smear campaign. To discredit them. But another agenda of the attack, more importantly, is to try to dishearten and discourage the victim/target. To silence them.

Of course, we seen practitioners of these ‘dark arts’ complain, whine, grizzle and call for a waaaambulance when it’s their own moment in the spotlight. “Rockets falling on me.” etc. Gawd.

I really try to stay away from that sort of thing.

I’m all for robust discussion and criticism, but I don’t seek to ‘expose’ people’s private lives or their personal information. This saying haunts me at times…

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”

… because I think there is a place for condemnation and what’s come to be referred to as “calling out” wrongdoing or bigotry, malfeasance etc. That’s something I do. Try to do. Badly at times, I’m sure.

If for any reason you think I’ve crossed a line, let me know. I’m open to hearing from you, I promise. Contact details on the ‘About’ page.

Cheers, – P

Silencing critical voices with personal attacks

Watch this video. It’s short, less than 5 min, but it’s very good.

The ‘flack’ filter — attempts to attack, invalidate and delegitimize “inconvenient” media narratives (starting about 3′ 30″ in the video) — was clearly on display in the NZ Government and NZ Defence Force spin response to Nicky Hager & Jon Stephenson’s book Hit & Run. That was obvious.

Of course, as we’ve discussed here, Teflon John Key frequently used that ‘attack/discredit’ technique to dismiss criticism, and dodge inconvenient facts (remember “Screaming left wing conspiracy theorist”?).

John Key: Not lying, he said. Just forgetful. (click)

John Key also sometimes used others of Chomsky’s ‘filters’ and methods exposed in Manufacturing Consent to defend his own changing narratives as they came apart under scrutiny. Or sometimes Mr Key’s bald statements were clearly shown to be false.

Remember how he denied knowing, let alone hand picking and approaching in person that old school mate as head of the GCSB? You know, the guy whose phone number he had? Who he’d had breakfast with? That guy. See: John Key addresses Parliament on his earlier misleading statement about Ian Fletcher’s appointment and following.
Bobbing and weaving cost Key some credibility. But not enough, some would say.

Sure, some in the media tried to hold Barbecue John to account. Like PM’s “fabricated” smear on Snowden documents, but over his time as Prime Minister, from what I saw, Key had a habit of making statements of dubious veracity and slithering away from them when confronted. Remember this example?: Hansard can be a real bitch, eh Mr Key?
The most popular political leader of my lifetime and, at the same time, a Hollow Man. Continue reading →

Most Defamed Man Ever Jordan Williams to appeal ruling

Litigation risk – lawsuits can be a very expensive version of ‘Snakes and Ladders’

Record defamation damages winner (oops, then loser) Jordan Williams has announced he’s going to appeal the ruling striking out the damages bonanza a jury awarded him last year.

As we saw previously (See: ‘About that Jordan Williams damages award…‘), the judge presiding over the defamation action Williams took against Colin Craig struck out the jury’s verdict and the ‘record’ $1.27m damages award made to Williams. That had to hurt.

Judge Sarah Katz issued a carefully reasoned 39-page judgement – available in the footnotes here. (Given the high stakes, no doubt it was written anticipating an appeal.) In her ruling, Judge Katz faulted the jury’s reasoning, its application of guidance from the court, and its understanding/ability to calculate damages.

She described the jury decision to award Jordan Williams 50% more in damages than the Commonwealth’s worst defamation case as a ‘miscarriage of justice’ – warranting a retrial. She also dismantled brick by brick the arguments Williams’s lawyers put up in submissions to try to justify the ‘excessive’ damages award as somehow ‘within the available range’. (See my last post for Andrew Geddis’s analysis of a ‘tactical error’ he thinks Peter McKnight made.)

Watchyagonnado?

The decision by Team Williams to appeal her ruling wasn’t really a surprise.

Another option offered – that the two parties (Colin Craig and Williams) should accept the jury finding of defamation(!) and agree to let Judge Katz set a more realistic damages figure – was a non-starter. Why would Craig agree to that?

For his part, Colin Craig told Radio NZ he was relieved at the miscarriage of justice finding, describing the judge’s ruling as “bang on”. (Well he would, wouldn’t he?) “The only correct course coming out of that trial last year was to in fact rule it as a mistrial. The law has been properly exercised in this particular case.”

Craig also said he would not be agreeing to any new damages. “The fact of that matter is Mr Williams simply hasn’t made his case against me yet. He is entitled to take this matter back to court. If he does I will defend myself.”

So, given the choice, Craig opted for retrial … which left Williams with few palatable options. Thus:

Patient Zero Jordan Williams (right) with character witness (pic: @jordnz)

Press Release: Jordan Williams
Friday, 28 April 2017, 4:40 pm

Lawyers for Jordan Williams are appealing the judgment setting aside last year’s jury verdict in the Williams v Craig defamation proceedings.

Mr Williams says, “Colin Craig argued that the jury’s damages award was too high. The judge agreed but the High Court is only able to reset the damages if both parties agree.”
“Last week Colin Craig’s lawyers told Justice Katz that Colin Craig was not willing to have her determine the damages; they want a full retrial.”

“I don’t want Rachel MacGregor or my mother or any other of my witnesses to have to go through it all again. The jury made clear findings. At every stage Mr Craig has wanted to stretch things out. We have no assurance he would not appeal after a new trial. So an appeal now could get to the key issues directly. It is the best way forward.”
ENDS

You might say it’s sweet and humanising that in his Friday afternoon press release Jordan Williams cited his concern for Ms MacGregor (whom the evidence at court showed he repeatedly deceived, betrayed and lied to, as Judge Katz’s judgement related) and also concern for Williams’s mum – not wanting them “or any other of my witnesses to have to go through it all again”. (Note: ‘my witnesses’.)

I’m sure that trial was gruelling on everybody involved. Continue reading →

About that Jordan Williams damages award…

How many lawyers does it take to create a miscarriage of justice? Depends on the lawyers.

I had an ‘incomplete’ feeling about that jury award in the Colin Craig/Jordan Williams defamation case – the ‘record’ amount of damages totalling $1.27M awarded in September 2016. It seemed to me there was a step outstanding: It hadn’t been confirmed by the judge in the case.

So every now and then I asked a few people, including the court reporters who covered the trial. Nope. Every week that went past after verdict was announced seemed bad for Jordan Williams, even allowing time for submissions, arguments and counter arguments. (Remember my comment about ‘litigation risk‘?)

It wasn’t until 12 April 2017 that Judge Sarah Katz released her judgment SETTING ASIDE the jury’s record damages award to Jordan Willliams as a miscarriage of justice.

By extension, it was also bad news for Cameron Slater, Jordan Williams’s Life Coach and co-conspirator in the ugly, brutal destabilisation campaign at the heart of this defamation action.

Slater Jnr is approaching his own day in court – as defendant in a defamation suit brought by Colin Craig. He’s also facing another, similar lawsuit brought by scientists he [allegedly] smeared on behalf of Carrick Graham’s client Katherine Rich and the food manufacturer lobby group she headed up. More on that another time.

But Slater had crowed about the ‘record’ damages award against Craig to Williams, apparently interpreting it as a good omen. Indeed, he predicted massive success in his own case (in between publishing begging letters to his cult, asking them to help pay his ‘legal fees’).

We all knew the jury found for Williams – found him to have been defamed, and awarded record-setting, ‘breathtaking’ damages. As it turned out, this week, Judge Sarah Katz released her decision: rather than confirming the damages the jury awarded, she ruled  that they were excessive, way out of bounds. So excessive, that she ruled the outcome was a miscarriage of justice which qualified for a retrial. Golly.

I remember at the end of last year’s trial (in Jordan Williams judged to have a reputation that could be harmed) saying that Williams had “written himself into the history books, whatever the final outcome.” So it seems. Now he’s an entry under ‘miscarriages of justice’ too. #winning Continue reading →

But I always thought I’d see you again

I lost an old friend today. Farewell Andrew. – P

A couple of happy pirates (and a not so happy one)

Pirates (and cabinet ministers) Paula Bennett (left) and Judith Collins (right).

Pirates – and cabinet ministers – Paula Bennett (left) and Judith Collins (right). click to enlarge

Possibly they were celebrating the fact that it wasn’t either of them who was involved in an excruciating 16 minute interview on Morning Report trying to sell a bill of goods to Kim Hill like Anne Tolley was this morning. Oh dear me.

Click to listen at Radio NZ

Click to listen at Radio NZ

Plumbing ridiculous depths, Mrs Tolley – the Minister for Social Development – dismissing Judge Henwood’s recommendation for an independent inquiry said (towards the end): “In some cases they [State care abuse victims] have had an apology from me, and I was only a child at the time...”

Golly.

– P

Update: Here’s a 2′ 10″ clip with that bit I referred to:


MP3 file

But I recommend you listen to the whole excruciating thing at Radio NZ using the link above.

Authenticity is not always a journey in a straight line

Where did this brave young woman have to get to? How low did she need to go, to come back with such courage?

I’m so impressed with how she comes clean and asks for support as she admits and challenges the grip of a powerful addiction and affliction.

I don’t know her or anything about her apart from what she says in this video blog, which I stumbled across tonight. But boy, I wish her well. Good on her.

Authenticity is not always a journey in a straight line.

– P

Farewell Leonard Cohen. RIP

I had enormous admiration for this giant, and also gratitude for the influence of his music – his soul music – his meditations and his anthems in my life.

Words, many more words, will be written and spoken about Leonard Cohen, and so they should. But not by me here today.

I have so much of his music, in so many forms and media, and some volumes of his poetry. I’ll go and dip into them now.

-P

PS. For a year that started with David Bowie’s death to get to here. Wow. Really counting our losses.

Oh, Megyn Kelly now an even bigger target of Trumpkins

Well, this is a development …

Look at Newt Gingrich’s worldview. Trying to paint Fox News as ‘part of the establishment’ seems ludicrous, and even Kelly laughed that off. She did very well as he spun out.
But that was a terrible putdown of him at the end re working on his ‘anger issues’.

Judging from the outpouring of anti-Kelly sentiment following this interview, she’s not flavour of the month in the Trump camp any more. To say the least.

– Peter

Update: And this, from The Daily Show, demonstrates very nicely the ‘What-you-see-depends-on-where-you-stand’ aspect of media criticism (to which none of us immune)…

Daily-Show-Kelly=Gingrich.jpg

Lol. You have to laugh when realities collide.

New single from Kimbra

I like virtually everything this young artist delivers, as we have discussed. I could even see the (cough) good side of her ‘More than a bum’ soft sell video mockumentary ad for Wrangler jeans.

Here’s her latest …