image: reckontalk.com

image: reckontalk.com

Those who are encouraging and enabling the National Party’s disgraced, now largely abandoned liar and propagandist Cameron Slater in his latest demented hate campaign need to look into the future and see where the road they’re on is leading.

It’s not new for me to say Cameron Slater’s worldview is marked by hot resentment, bitterness, dark fantasy and paranoia. Likewise, how many different ways can I describe him as someone who seems to routinely carry out dishonest, grubby and unethical schemes?

Skim some of the posts under the Cameron Slater ‘tag’ here at The Paepae, particularly the older ones, and you’ll see I formed an opinion fairly slowly, but it  hardened. A tipping point was his protracted campaign of nasty smears against striking port workers, including PUBLISHING PRIVATE INFORMATION LEAKED TO HIM from company personnel files, evidently on behalf of the Ports of Auckland, although this was rather implausibly denied. ‘What a nasty bastard’, I thought at the time. (See: Of bloggers, dogs and fleas. The Ports of Auckland’s ‘ethical and legal breaches’)

In my view, my contempt for Slater Jnr’s actions and modus operandi is pretty solidly based – and based not just on observation of his online and media personas and machinations, but on personal interaction. I’ve talked face to face with him for hours, and we’ve discussed in person some of my criticisms of his actions. What he didn’t disclose in those conversations was the role of Simon Lusk and Carrick Graham and Paul Honnor in funding his PR attack blog, and the extent of paid ghostwritten PR and political “hits” published under his own name. In short, I gave him too much credit.

I also remember a discussion I had with Chris Trotter, a sometime source of gossip for Slater who bestowed on Chris the title ‘Honourable Leftie’. (Some endorsements you really don’t want, eh?) At that stage, Slater was still desperately wanting a way ‘in’ to mainstream media – perhaps a Talkback slot at Radio LIVE, or some such – but his hot vitriol and (we know now) compromised target selection were continually shooting him in the foot. When we talked, Trotter lamented Slater’s wasted ‘potential’ and we agreed his lack of discipline was destroying his attempts at building his credibility, such as it was.

The benefit of the doubt only goes so far

I’m not proud of it, but I’m sorry to say there comes a point where I give up on people. I don’t ‘hate’ them, I just write them off as a lost cause. Sorry.
In this case, I’ve personally come to see Slater Jnr as recidivist liar, an awful hypocrite, a charlatan, and a nasty unscrupulous bully. He is also, as Judith Collins indicated to the Chisholm Inquiry (and the nation) a disappointment and untrustworthy. (Your view may vary, of course.)

But if this post was just another well-founded edition of ‘How Scummy is Cameron Slater? Let me count the ways’, well, ho-hum. 

Forget about Slater for the moment. As he has admitted, he’s not been in a good state of mind. The pressure has been getting to him.

In that respect, Slater reminds me of another nasty lying bully boy, actually a mutual acquaintance of his and mine, someone who we feel ripped us both off at different times. This lowlife, let’s call him Smith, or Jones, eventually got a kind of comeuppance. But it was a long drawn-out train wreck watching him duck and dive, weave and bob, lie and attack, and – just like Slater Jnr is doing now – spray paranoid vitriol all around him in an effort to stave off the inevitable.
The pressure of exposure made Jones an irrational hater, in my view. I saw him adopt a bunker mentality. He double-crossed, abandoned or was abandoned by former friends and partners – many of whom (in my direct observation) he screwed over and bullied.
Before fleeing his creditors and leaving the country in disgrace, he withdrew, propped up by fewer and fewer acolytes and enablers, still lobbing bizarre attacks and smears – even as the tide ran out. Just like Slater Jnr – but we’ll get to that.

Unethical practices, whether in private life, business, or politics, set up a chain of events that will, in many cases (but not all) eventually, expose you. As I have noted here before, I live uneasily with the philosophy that ‘Whatever is whispered in secret will be shouted from the rooftops’. That doesn’t mean I’m careless with secrets, especially other people’s, quite the opposite. But I know that things leak. I try to be careful. I fail.
For instance, Judge David Harvey cited an article written for lawyers that contained this wry gem: ‘Never forward someone’s email without their permission; always assume your email will be forwarded without your permission.’ Exactly. And ‘private’ chat logs even more so – as Slater Jnr has learnt. But he won’t be the last to learn that lesson, I’m sure.

source: BMW, Germany (click to enlarge)

source: BMW, Germany (click to enlarge)

That terrible trope, ‘So-and-so’s actions carried within them the seeds of his own destruction’ reflects a kind of karmic inevitability. When Slater Jnr acts like an arsehole it means he will cop some of it back – despite his (and Mrs Collins’) macho ‘Give back double’ bullshit.
It’s futile to think you can somehow exclude yourself from the laws of cause and effect. Years ago I read a wry Germanic joke about the anti-lock braking system in my car: ‘Not even ABS can suspend the laws of physics.’

Unhinged?

For Slater Jnr, it was unquestionably a nightmare that Nicky Hager was given access to the communications and material he used in writing his exposé of two track politics and dirty PR in New Zealand, Dirty Politics. It was a nightmare primarily because there was SO MUCH DIRT.
By their actions, Slater and his associates Simon Lusk, Carrick Graham, Cathy Odgers (and minor, even more wannabe players like Jordan Williams, Aaron Bhatnagar and others) were revealed in the Hager book – often in their own words – to be duplicitous and schemers.
The truth about them and their actions being revealed made them, to a greater or less extent, ‘toxic’. This week, writing in the NZ Herald, Toby Manhire described an imaginary Prime Ministerial staffer ‘thanking’ Nicky Hager for severing John Key’s office from the ‘toxin’ that is Cameron Slater.

The Dirty Politics scandal may not have dented National polling, but it did end co-operation between the PM’s office and the attack blogger. The text chatter between Slater and Key stopped. Jason Ede, the apparent blog-attack-bridgehead, soon enjoyed the chance to spend more time with family. …

This week, it was reported Slater, one of NZ’s most strident opponents of name suppression, had tried to have his name suppressed forever in a case over proffered payments for hacked material from a rival blog (the hacks seem never to have happened, but that’s another story). After an interim name suppression was lifted – Slater got diversion, despite the police having oddly failed to consult with the owner of the site concerned – Mr Oil has lashed out all over the internet. You can read it if you wish, but make time for a shower after that.

The Prime Minister has far too much on his plate to read it, but one of his advisers probably will. And it wouldn’t surprise me at all if they thought: thank goodness we’re no longer exposed to that toxin. They might even, maybe, think: thanks for that, Nicky Hager.

Quite a come-down for the son of a former National Party president.

Hager, let me emphasize, as I have elsewhere, seemed to me to act carefully and responsibly in writing Dirty Politics without exposing personal, private or family details from the tranche of materials. He managed to keep his book tightly focussed on the material of greatest public interest – the sleazy political and dirty PR stuff –  rather than play to prurient interest or titillation.

I honestly don’t know if I would have been so disciplined, given my own sense of outrage at the efforts Slater has made to personally target and disadvantage people working in the news media, public health scientists and (apparently) commercial rivals of Carrick Graham’s clients. For Slater to moan to the Court that ‘people have lost jobs’ as a result of the publication of Dirty Politics is just another example of his gross hypocrisy and twisted ethics.

Despite the smears and disparagement directed at Hager by the Prime Minister and his attack poodles, my National Party friends who’ve read Hager’s book were shocked and disgusted, and disappointed – particularly at the role of ex National MP Katherine Rich in engaging Carrick ‘below the line’ Graham who hired Slater to smear scientists, and the interference with government rules around contract conditions for cleaners, among other things.
As always, Teflon John Key seems to escape any serious scrutiny by his own Party.
I’ve been struck by the sheer utility of the talking point, ‘Oh, they all do it’. People generally distrust politicians. (And journalists, ha!)
As long as Mr Key keeps winning, he’ll get a free pass. And that’s pretty natural, I think.
Slater Jnr, on the other hand, is an embarrassment to National.

Calling occupants of interplanetary craft

Slater Jnr has engaged in a defensive frenzy and smokescreen since it was revealed (officially) that he was charged in the Manukau District Court last December with inciting a crime, namely attempting to procure a ‘hack’ into left wing blog The Standard, had admitted the offence, and been granted diversion. (Diversion, in this case, has  proved somewhat contentious after the fact because a good deal of Slater Jnr’s PR attack campaign this week seems to be denying the offence he is held to  have “accepted full responsibility for” as part of the Diversion programme. I wonder how that will come out in the wash.)

Diversion-accept

Others have, quite rightly, noted the large dollop of hypocrisy in Slater applying to the court for permanent and ongoing name suppression, given his outspokenness in other cases. He says the police applied for interim name suppression in December, which appears to be true.
Just why police would do that, given there was, as I understand it, no prospect of a jury trial, so no risk of his rights to a fair trial being affected by publicity, I do not understand. Worse, it looks really cosy.

It seems a lawyer representing several news media organisations applied to the court for access to the court file (as is normal), and for name suppression to be lifted in the public interest. Slater apparently opposed that application, citing potential ‘extreme hardship’ for his family.

But Judge McIraith was unconvinced, so now we can all know that while foaming about illegal [alleged] hackers stealing his private information, Slater had been scheming with someone he thought was a hacker to gain access to private information about political enemies and targets from The Standard website.

Some of the material released by the court and from other sources shows Slater to have been caught up in a breathtaking and incredible caper which seems to have comprehensively fed his paranoia about people who he already regarded as enemies.

What’s been exposed shows how desperately keen Slater was to believe a labyrinthine tale because it appeared to (or promised to) fulfil his fondest hopes to somehow ‘destroy’ an à la carte menu of the various hated journalists, bloggers, politicians, tweeters etc who he feels have run vendettas against him. I know, the irony is dazzling. But wait, there’s more.

Is Slater a repeat offender?

This June 2011 interchange – apparently between Slater Jnr and Simon Lusk (below) – was part of the infamous ‘Whaledump’ tranche released in August 2014, after John Key accused Nicky Hager of ‘making things up’.

If I am reading it right(?), it looks to me like Slater telling Lusk, or at least implying he paid someone he described as “my IT support person” $11,000 for extracting “three files of all of Labour’s online donations and cc [credit card] details”. Interesting, given the context, eh?

Update 4:45: a reader suggested that the $11k is a reference to the total amount donated to Labour through the website. Yep, that makes more sense.

So, Slater has a track record for paying people experienced in IT to extract other people's private information from computers.

So, it seems Cameron Slater has a track record for engaging people experienced in IT to extract other people’s PRIVATE INFORMATION from websites. The last line ‘this will make me bigger than nicky hagar’ [sic] is an example of  irony you just can’t invent.

One can only be curious about whether the police file regarding the Labour Party’s complaint to police about Slater’s actions connected with EXTRACTING PRIVATE DATA from the Labour Party website made it to the Manukau CIB officers who were investigating the recent charge of attempting to ‘hack’ The Standard?
Would such a thing be seen as relevant to the offer of Diversion made to Slater, do you think? Seems it might be, but I’m not a lawyer. I don’t know.

It’s also worth noting in the Lusk-Slater interchange above how Slater planned a drip feed ‘campaign’ of sequential releases against the Labour Party using the STOLEN PRIVATE INFORMATION, much the way he waged his [allegedly] defamatory smear campaign against Matthew Blomfield – the consequences of which have drained a lot of the fun out of Slater Jnr’s daily existence lately.

I feel sorry for anyone caught up in this shitstorm. Right now Slater is drowning and dragging others down with him.

Slater and his reality-challenged handmaidens who run another despicable attack website (which I won’t name because they’re idiot scumbags) have descended into the foulest pit of victimising people as cover for Slater’s own malfeasance. Like the squirming, mealy-mouthed dodge artist he has so often shown himself to be in the past, Slater Jnr denies the undeniable. He bullshits, splits hairs, and blusters his way – all the while apparently placing a higher value on his own ‘skin’ than anything else, including ethics.

Some would describe those as the actions of a sociopath. I’m not qualified to offer such an opinion. But let me say this:

Wake up

Those who are enabling Cameron Slater to carry on his hate campaigns, those who whisper encouragement, stroke his fevered brow and proofread his fetid prose, those who pay his bills and offer sympathy and confirmation of his wild conspiracy theories against New Zealand news media figures – those people have a sad day of reckoning coming.
To Pete Belt, who now seems to work full-time driving the Slater website: It seems to me you’re enabling Slater to do what he’s doing. Probably for the best motives in the world, loyalty, friendship, and maybe the thrill of the chase? you’ve fed him a line of validation,  you’ve been a shoulder to cry on. Whether you’ve shared his paranoid fantasies, I don’t know. You’ve been someone, like Cathy Odgers, who has propped him up when the going got tough.

But it’s not good for him, Pete. This road he’s on is leading nowhere good. You’re not helping him, mate.

Obviously Slater is trapped. He’s damn near unemployable, and the toxicity of his ‘personal brand’ means he can’t really ‘consult’ for people except in the most subterranean ways. Ask John Palino about the story of his 2016 Mayoral campaign launch.

Slater seems to blame Nicky Hager for all this, but it’s a clear case of chickens coming home to roost. And, as mentioned above, I’ll never forget the irony of this from Slater to Lusk, revealed by ‘Whaledump’:

pic: Claire Trevett, NZ Herald

pic: Claire Trevett, NZ Herald

Judging by some of the content published on the PR attack blog, it appears Carrick Graham is still throwing him a bone now and then, and probably Simon Lusk is too. The campaign against the Ruataniwha dam isn’t primarily a Simon Lusk master plan, but there must be some income in it, judging by the ghostwritten posts.

Photo by John Kirk-Anderson/Fairfax NZ

Cameron Slater in happier times. Pic by John Kirk-Anderson/Fairfax NZ

Simon Lusk’s campaign for Palino isn’t going to be a meal ticket.

The ‘Freed’ media company idea is a pipe dream. Regan seems such a flake, and compromised with his own strange reality and a version of toxicity, in my opinion – as well as his secretive connections to Slater – so that’s not going to fly. I may be proven wrong.

And to Juana, who I personally saw display such appalling discourtesy and lack of class toward Trevor Mallard at the end of the cycle race after he’d whipped Slater Jnr’s big-talking arse (almost as comprehensively as Jesse Ryder did in the boxing ring later). It seems to me Juana is even more trapped than her husband.

It looks like she is taking some of the copy/paste load at the website while Slater Jnr has been ‘distracted’ by the shit hitting the fan. But the way Juana plays the game, her apparent deployment of nasty Twitter sock puppet accounts to troll and attack ‘enemies’, plus her own credulous belief in ‘the grand conspiracy’, well, it disturbs me.

As for Juana’s vacuous recycling of racist and Islamophobic, anti-Palestinian/Arab content from Breitbart and other sources, that is so tawdry. It also seems tone deaf here in New Zealand, despite her efforts. Surely she can do better too.

chickenhallucination

And apparently there’s been a small group of Seventh Day Adventist ‘businessmen’ who have effectively supported Slater Jnr’s hate blog and paid for some of the costs of the debris and clean up. Paul Honnor’s name is mentioned as a long-term, behind the scenes funder.
I don’t know Paul, but if I had the chance to meet him I would say this:

Hey, I know it feels like loyalty. I guess you see Slater Jnr as a rehabilitation project – a sad, sick puppy that can’t fend for himself and is prone to a sackful of problems, some of which genuinely threaten to engulf him. And I guess you don’t want to see that happen. But Paul, by propping this unholy enterprise up, you’re only delaying the inevitable collapse – he will keep making the same mistakes – and worse, you’re empowering him to continue spreading the hateful mixture of bile and toxin that’s already hurt and damaged so many people (good people, despite his dark hallucinations). Think again.

As I have said before, he’s not without his good attributes, but I don’t see Cameron Slater as a creative person except in the most derivative, aping way – e.g. his slavishly copying Andrew Sullivan’s ‘The Dish’ blog is the most obvious clue.

In my opinion Google will never pay him enough for ads to keep that ship floating. I may be wrong, but I suspect the money is tight and running out – hence the begging letters – not due to a ‘media conspiracy’ but as a consequence.

But if anything, what’s been revealed this week, the fantasy element, and Slater Jnr’s latest display of his ferocious, unhinged paranoia and bitterness, should be a signal to anyone supporting him that he’s out of touch with reality.

And I don’t see him coming back.

– P

Facts are stated to the best of my knowledge and commentary is my honest opinion. Corrections or clarifications are always welcome by email. Comments are open, but may be moderated.
– Best wishes, Peter Aranyi