So, Cam Slater plead guilty to soliciting the hack on The Standard (even though he’s now saying he didn’t solicit the hack; he was defrauded by Ben Rachinger, who claimed to have already hacked The Standard, and was offering Slater content on the proviso Slater hand over some money). Not just that, but Slater then sought permanent name suppression, despite having a long history of opposing name suppression in principle.
So, that’s interesting, but not exactly exciting.
I’ve held off writing anything on this update to the whole Ben Rachinger affair for two reasons.
- We haven’t learnt much which is new. Oh, we have confirmation now from Slater that he was involved (which is much better than the anguished sniping from both he and Rachinger all over the internet about it), but that part of the story was never really in doubt.
- The story is still ongoing. Slater plead guilty and got diversion (itself an interesting result given his previous convictions), but Rachinger is still going to have his day in court, in order to prove – among other things – that he was a police asset.
So, whilst we have Slater admitting some level of guilt here, the actual story of conspiracy which is the most interesting – the Rachinger tale – continues to bubble along. Rachinger continues to lash out and attack people like Rangi Kemara, Nicky Hager, and the like as being people variously involved in #dirtypolitics themselves, having let him down, et cetera. He also continues to maintain he knows who Rawshark is, and could out him at any moment. Then again, he’s made bold promises like this before, and never actually delivered upon them. It seems that few people take his claims seriously, but when they do – like Slater – the results are hardly pretty.
This all sounds negative and glum. Still, you would likely feel the same if you had spend days reading self-serving posts by Cameron Slater on how he is the real victim in this #dirtypolitics ordeal. His posts really are quite good, in that he’s successfully navigated the tricky waters of telling his commentators and audience he did a bad thing, but that the real enemies are the liberals and progressives out there who seek to cause him harm. It really is an astounding bubble that he and his followers live in.
Still, there are a few unanswered questions which come out of reading Slater’s ‘own’1 commentary on the matter:
- Where did Lauda Finem get the incriminating photos of a phone showing salacious images from? Slater keeps saying ‘Ask them!’, yet surely he must be interested to know how pictures of his phone were ‘shopped’ to another site.
- Who was the mysterious funder Slater referred to? Did they actually exist?
- Is it true that the chat logs between Rachinger and Slater have been redacted at the request of the Crown?
The first question speaks to the strange relationship between Lauda Finem and Whale Oil blogs. Both site proprietors claim to have nothing to do with one another. People who have got to grips with the material claim otherwise, usually with quite compelling evidence. So, why maintain the fiction that there is no real connection between the two?
The other two questions are interesting just for the sheer fact that there is so much potential disinformation being bandied about by both Slater and Rachinger; its hard to take their individual claims about the other seriously, let alone their claims about themselves. Both Slater and Rachinger seem to have supported each other’s fantasies; Slater, for example, wanted proof of a plot to get him to commit suicide, whilst Rachinger wanted to be a player or powerbroker. It’s hard to know, when information is being traded in barbed blogposts or tweets what to make of certain extraordinary claims, claims which point towards sometimes complementary, sometimes contrary, allegations of conspiracy.
Will there be more to this? Well, I guess we have to wait and see what happens when Ben Rachinger goes to court, in order to prove that the State has conspired against him. I’m not ruling out the possibility Rachinger was used by the Police, but let’s just say that if that turns out to be the case, it’ll be interesting if their story and Ben’s end up being perfectly aligned.
- Given we know people write for Slater’s blog under other names, who knows if he is actually wrote said content.↩