The Red Alert privacy accusations

December 10th, 2012 at 8:10 am by David Farrar

There’s been a great volume of posts and comments on the left blogs about one or more people in , including an MP, allegedly targeting party members for comments they have made on blogs under a pseudonym. The best summary comes from Danyl at the Dim Post:

My understanding of what’s happened here is that most authors on comment under pseudonyms. And they’ve commented on the Labour blog using those same pseudonyms. Now, when you comment on you have to provide your real email address. So these have been matched to Labour’s membership and the dissenting members have been contacted by party officials. All pretty creepy.

It is creepy and authoritarian, and worse.  If correct, I think the actions may breach the Act.

Lynn Prentice has commented:

I’d advise anyone who has used a pseudonym on Red Alert that could compromise them in real life to expect problems. The system operators over there are quite compromised, don’t act responsibly, and have been that way for some time. Quite simply they are not operating in a way that makes it safe to leave comments there unless you have cast-iron anonymity. …

Which incidentally, is why you don’t see Red Alert on our feed

That is a hugely damning statement. The person in charge of the most read left blog in New Zealand (and a long term Labour party member) says he won’t even link to the Labour caucus blog because of their ethical standards in using private registration details to target people.

If I was a journalist, I’d be asking whoever is in charge of Red Alert to confirm or deny the allegations from their own party members.

It seems that once the identity of certain people commenting at The Standard was known (by cross-matching the e-mail address they used on Red Alert to their membership database) they were heavied, as were their friends. The Sprout has said:

My friends were heavied in an attempt to intimidate me to stop posting during the leadership contest between Shearer and Cunliffe. Clearly someone in Wellington didn’t like me saying their pony was a rightwing puppet who couldn’t lead a party to save himself. Despite me only stating the obvious, it spurred a pretty awful and nasty intimidation campaign. They knew the people being threatened weren’t me, but they knew too that doing that to my friends would quieten me. How shitty North-Korean is that?

So far it’s been CV, millsy, Peter Wilson, and me – that I know of – but who knows who else has been leaned on to shut up?

Eddie confirms this in a post:

Now, a senior Labour MP has written a letter to the New Zealand Council trying to stamp on debate by party members online. The MP has singled one individual commentator in particular for attack in the letter (don’t worry, you know already if it’s you) after using back-end data from Red Alert to identify them.

To be clear, a senior MP is attempting to change the membership rules of the party to punish a member for writing somethings that the MP doesn’t agree with in the comments section of blogs (which everyone knows Labour MPs don’t read anyway). Talk about breaking a butterfly upon a wheel. Talk about abusing your institutional power in an attempt to insulate yourself from criticism, no matter the cost to the party itself.

And this comes from the party that says it is from open government and protecting people’s right of free speech on the Internet. Can you imagine what they might do if they were actually in Government?

One of those allegedly targeted was Colonial Viper. To make it harder for Labour MPs to work out who to target, many of the commenters as The Standard have adopted similar pseudonyms in a Spartacus strategy! Nice solidarity.

Pete George has a comprehensive set of links on this issue.

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68 Responses to “The Red Alert privacy accusations”

  1. kowtow (7,877 comments) says:

    Ooooooh noooooooo,this will have Pete George going all day!

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  2. Pete George (23,168 comments) says:

    An irony should be noted – a Labour MP (supported by ledership and/or council) is targeting and attempting to gag a blog that itself is known for gagging. The same lprent mentioned above correctly warns about insecure anonimity at Red Alert is also known to gag dissenting voices, as he did on Thursday night, the same time this story broke.

    Shutting down debate and shutting out comment is a theme in Labour orienbtated blogs. A gaggle of gaggers.

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  3. Keeping Stock (10,162 comments) says:

    This is one of the very rare occasions where I stand in solidarity with The Standard and those who comment there.

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  4. Griff (6,970 comments) says:

    Dont worry PG
    some of us understand your interest in freedom of speech
    The ones you piss off are those with a vapid content to their posts

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  5. Jimmy Smits (246 comments) says:

    You are agreeing for your e-mail address to be made known to blog owners when making a comment – the other option is to not comment, it’s a free world. Isn’t it the same here at Kiwiblog? How many times has DPF banned/publicly exposed a commenter in a blog post because they registered with a particular e-mail address or IP address and offended him personally?

    [DPF: Don't lie. There is a huge difference between banning and exposing a commenter. The only time I did so was when they maliciously impersonated Peter Burns which resulted in his being falsely banned before the impersonation was uncovered.]

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  6. YesWeDid (1,041 comments) says:

    So they kicked Peter George off The Standard because they were sick of the crap he kept posting and that makes them a ‘gaggle of gaggers’.

    Just about any political blog that Peter George comments on, there is the same reaction ‘please, just go away’.

    Nothing personal Pete, I’m sure you’re a great guy, just please shut down the computer once in a while and go outside and enjoy the sunshine.

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  7. Colville (2,154 comments) says:

    Its pretty easy to get a slapping and a holiday for being a bad boy over at the Stranded. I know PG got banned for rubbing their noses in their hypocrisy once or maybe five times too often, but the fact that “they” are a bunch of sad c8nts doesnt lessen the outright weirdness of a few MPs thinking they can control what is said online by a bunch of Silent T’s fanbois (and girls)

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  8. Elaycee (4,322 comments) says:

    Keeping Stock:

    This is one of the very rare occasions where I stand in solidarity with The Standard and those who comment there.

    Touche. :D

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  9. rouppe (932 comments) says:

    I’d have thought the obvious thing to do would be to open a hotmail email account for use when registering with Red Alert and keep your personal email address private.

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  10. RRM (9,606 comments) says:

    That ‘butterfly upon a wheel’ post on The Standard is very good – and I really never expected to be saying something like that!

    When The Standard began, Labour was a 40% party. Now, it is a 30% party. And this shit is why. It is this siege mentality, this constant threat of purging if you don’t toe the line that has driven good people from Labour and seen shocking results like Dunedin South going blue for the first time ever on the party vote, and Labour becoming a third party in Wellington Central. In those five years, The Standard hasn’t changed, Labour’s base hasn’t changed, and the New Zealand population hasn’t really changed. But something has changed, for the worse.

    Nails it.

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  11. bhudson (4,736 comments) says:

    Now if only the MSM would leap on this – the parliamentary press gallery could have a field day chasing down Shearer and Robertson on this. Somehow I think their master strategist would duck for cover and the MP who allegedly wrote the letter would be a resounding ‘no comment’ unless given the opportunity to manage the message.

    The gallery has a couple of days left before the House rises – might as well have some fun.

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  12. bhudson (4,736 comments) says:

    RRM,

    I never tire of reading that Labour is the third party in Wellington Central. If only the local voters would wake up to the real Grant Robertson – another anomaly could be corrected.

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  13. smttc (710 comments) says:

    Boring. Who gives a toss if Labour wants to eat its own?

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  14. Nookin (3,162 comments) says:

    “How many times has DPF banned/publicly exposed a commenter in a blog post because they registered with a particular e-mail address or IP address and offended him personally?”

    Banned – Yes. Publicly exposed – you answer that one. I cannot think of any.

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  15. berend (1,671 comments) says:

    Is it really a gagging issue if you get paid by the Labour Party, and they ask you to stop blogging about the Labour Party during the boss’s time, or free time?

    No company would allow people to blog negatively about a company.

    [DPF: This isn't about paid employees. It is about party members. A huge difference]

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  16. thedavincimode (6,582 comments) says:

    Sooo, just so I can get this straight, is everyone at the stranded now saying the same things about the powers that be that everyone here has been saying for the last umpteen years?

    Too funny. The nasty party.

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  17. Pete George (23,168 comments) says:

    berend – I haven’t seen that scenario suggested by anyone.

    The main target of the gagging – Colonial Viper – is widely known to be a man of leisure. He has more leisure time now he’s been shut down from commenting at The Standard, where he was the most prolific commenter.

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  18. KiwiGreg (3,211 comments) says:

    “The main target of the gagging – Colonial Viper – is widely known to be a man of leisure. He has more leisure time now he’s been shut down from commenting at The Standard, where he was the most prolific commenter.”

    Is that code for dole bludger or independently wealthy?

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  19. Pete George (23,168 comments) says:

    Family wealth.

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  20. Rich Prick (1,604 comments) says:

    The thread at The Standard is gob-smackingly revealing. And ugly, in a 1982 kind of way.

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  21. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,819 comments) says:

    First they came for the Exclusive Brethren
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t an Exclusive Brethren

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  22. Peter (1,653 comments) says:

    Popcorn popping…..

    Should be a good week.

    Not for Labour.

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  23. burt (7,950 comments) says:

    I wonder how many Ports Of Auckland workers who didn’t want to strike (who just wanted to feed their families) are familiar with this “one rule from the top” of solidarity ?

    The best interests of the party always seem to come first in the workers rights party – how completely wrong is that….

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  24. Peter (1,653 comments) says:

    LOL OECD rank 22 kiwi. Very good.

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  25. burt (7,950 comments) says:

    I’m actually wondering if the Labour party can survive in the modern age – without tightly controlled propaganda press releases surely socialism will finally be revealed as always being a failure… every time it’s been tried anywhere it’s ended in economic decline as people get fat and lazy enjoying other peoples money which always runs out…..

    The idea that the red party rag of days gone by that was “the Standard” could be good for the party in a forum where the BS party line pieces were able to be debated openly and freely is just laughable. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the advent of blogs coincides with the decline of a socialist dictatorship solidarity party.

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  26. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    I’m with Peter. That will take some beating for quip-of-the-day

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  27. burt (7,950 comments) says:

    I bet CV had a lot to say about the evil of the EB and how they should be muzzled ….. I might search a few pieces on that later and if I find any I’ll post them up for him….

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  28. scrubone (3,074 comments) says:

    Just about any political blog that Peter George comments on, there is the same reaction ‘please, just go away’.

    Transference.

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  29. burt (7,950 comments) says:

    Pete Grorge

    Family wealth.

    cock in the cash register – I think that’s the best way to describe it…..

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  30. Scott Chris (5,953 comments) says:

    Putting myself in Red Alert’s shoes, I’d certainly be curious enough to compare the email addresses, (wouldn’t you?) so the question is; would it then be my moral obligation to contact the matches?

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  31. Manolo (13,514 comments) says:

    Why is everyone surprised? It’s common practice for these despicable socialists and totalitarians.

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  32. Sector 7g (237 comments) says:

    “Can you imagine what they might do if they were actually in Government?”

    Yeah, I can. It would be the same as we have now with National.

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  33. burt (7,950 comments) says:

    Manolo

    Exactly… They changed the law to silence the EB and changed the law to give themselves more access to public money for socialist propaganda… Oh the shock they want to silence dissent in their own ranks…. Who’d have thunk it ….

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  34. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    Witness left tearing themselves to pieces over differing standards of intolerance!

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  35. Barnsley Bill (982 comments) says:

    As usual, DPF has revealed himself as a man of limited ability to analyse the strategic genius that is Fran Mold.
    For the first time in many months the rabid mouth breathers are not screeching about David “Mumbles” Shearer.
    Well done Fran, forcing Curran to make herself look like a complete fu*kwit has taken the heat out of all the scat that has been spraying all over your boss since forever.
    Choosing Curran rather than just any old labour mong MP deserves the Annual Malcolm F Tucker scholarship award. Curran is the open government/ anti cyber bullying pin up girl for Labour.
    Breaching red alerts database and then threatening to out members might be seen as over the top by many but I just want to recognise how good Fran Mold really is.

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  36. gump (1,538 comments) says:

    @Jimmy Smits

    You’re thinking of WhaleOil. He has posted the email addresses of several of his blog commentators over the years (in some cases deservedly, in other cases vindictively).

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  37. thedavincimode (6,582 comments) says:

    forcing Curran to make herself look like a complete fu*kwit

    I think you’re giving Mold too much credit and Curran too little.

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  38. Barnsley Bill (982 comments) says:

    On the contrary, Mold convincing somebody who champions the anti cyber bullying and open government policy to project herself as the biggest hypocrite in the history of the interweb marks Mold as a modern day Sun Tzu.
    I salute her.
    We should bow down to the geniuses in labour. Every time a crisis starts to fade they manage to conjure up another one from thin air.
    They are the political equivalent of the dysentery ward the morning after curry night.

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  39. Pete George (23,168 comments) says:

    Another couple of comments:

    Vipete (@Liberation)

    The situation is pretty much as you say it – Clare Curran laid a letter of complaint against the person known as “Colonial Viper” with the NZ Council of the NZLP last week. I’m told that this letter seeks disciplinary action against Colonial Viper, who is a member of the party.

    If so, this is draconian in the extreme. What I can’t work out is why an MP would spend her days worrying about supposedly trivial comments on a blog, except if its out of fear.

    Anon (@The Standard)

    I’ve seen the letter. It exists, it is from Clare Curran to the NZ Council, and The Standard authors’ representations of it are accurate. It specifically targets Colonial Viper and talks about a need to do something to bring The Standard into line.

    Obviously I can’t reveal my identity because I don’t want to be targeted and defamed myself. But ask around if you have political contacts. Enough people have seen this letter, which is why no one in a senior position in Labour will deny it.

    Very said that quite a number of Labour members have good cause to be concerned they may “be targeted and defamed myself”.

    I’ve had a veiled threat directed at me: An anonymous threat typifies the problem – I stand by any thing I’ve posted and have stood up to many atempts at discrediting before so this doesn’t bother me, but I wouldn’t be surprised if something gets hurled at me in an attempt at relatiation (for posting honest opinions).

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  40. dime (9,611 comments) says:

    not many penny george comments on this thread. did he pass out from excitement?

    its a pretty low act by curran. is it arrogance or just pure stupidity? shouldnt she be busy trying to save the traditional highlanders jersey? the one that can trace its roots all the way back to 1996.

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  41. thedavincimode (6,582 comments) says:

    They are the political equivalent of the dysentery ward the morning after curry night.

    More like the product of a curry night to my way of thinking.

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  42. RRM (9,606 comments) says:

    shouldnt she be busy trying to save the traditional highlanders jersey? the one that can trace its roots all the way back to 1996.

    :lol: Made my day.

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  43. Tom Jackson (2,479 comments) says:

    “The main target of the gagging – Colonial Viper – is widely known to be a man of leisure. He has more leisure time now he’s been shut down from commenting at The Standard, where he was the most prolific commenter.”

    I don’t agree with what has done, but this means I might start reading The Standard again. Too many blogs suffer from having one semi-educated, obsessive commentator who fills every thread with drivel posts, and CV was this person on The Standard. The Standard already has too many loudmouth dumbos for its own good. Perhaps s/he might take the time off to read some books and attend a charm school.

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  44. Rick Rowling (823 comments) says:

    Does this mean we can’t wind up the Standardistas by describing them as “official Labour Party bloggers” any more?

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  45. Rick Rowling (823 comments) says:

    A perverse part of me that wants entertainment more than good governance wants a Labour / Green / NZ First / Mana coalition next term.

    Because not only would the parties involved all be fighting each other, but there’d also be 3 or 4 factions in Labour at it hammer and tongs too. It would be fantastic to watch.

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  46. Grendel (966 comments) says:

    i am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that one of the most vitriolic, small minded Fwits on the standard (and for that crowd, standing out in that way is a serious achievement), is someone swanning about on family inherited wealth.

    WTF!, tell me no one has called him out for bitching about evil rich right wingers at least once! he’ll be one of those pricks bitching about the ‘rich’ paying their ‘fair share’ while all the while will have a seriously efficient tax situation and is living off capital gains.

    beyond that, i find it hard to give a shit about the left eating itself. since the left is by definition defined by control and a hierarchy, this was always goign to happen. i just cant wait for the greens to inevitably start doign the same, and see the eventual split into the judean peoples front etc.

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  47. Tom Jackson (2,479 comments) says:

    I know, Grendel. Trustafarians like CV are the most annoying people.

    Weird thing is that, if we lived in a Marxist society, they would be put to work – probably cleaning bogs.

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  48. La Grand Fromage (145 comments) says:

    Please tell me that this is the same CV who, as an architect of the socialist utopia, talks about starting a revolution and shooting the rich.

    Talk about being brave behing a keyboard. One telling of from Claire Curran and he runs away like a pussy.

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  49. Paulus (2,546 comments) says:

    I have now been automatically banned from anything I say on both Red Jerk and Standardista.
    And I thought it was what I say that they don’t like.
    Gang of Twerps on both sides – cannot take comments to which the disagree.
    But will still troll another way – watch this space – great fun getting quietly under their skins.

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  50. lastmanstanding (1,233 comments) says:

    What a surprise. The Socialist Party adopting the same tactics as their former comrades in the USSR did during the reign of Stalin et al.
    Beware if the Socialists/Green ( commies) get elected in 2014 they will pass a law that bans the use of pseudonyms with the punishment being a long spell at Her Majestys pleasure.

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  51. Rick Rowling (823 comments) says:

    Lastmanstanding – surely a long spell at Comrade Chairperson’s pleasure?

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  52. Pete George (23,168 comments) says:

    Back a year (Labour leadership battle) there was an eerily similar story:

    I and some of my friends not been subjected to intimidation and threats for daring to criticize Shearer’s candidacy and question his suitability for the role.

    This was posted at The Standard and also picked up by Whale Oil. History repeating?

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  53. Pete George (23,168 comments) says:

    Re previous comment – that was also alleged to have used identity harvesting and cross matching between Red Alert and The Standard.

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  54. SHG (367 comments) says:

    @Keeping Stock:

    This is one of the very rare occasions where I stand in solidarity with The Standard and those who comment there.

    I’ve received temp bans from The Standard more than once, often as the result of trying to debate this point or that point with Colonial Viper. Yesterday I commented at The Standard on CV:

    he’s a frickin’ lunatic. Half the time arguing with him is like talking to a religious nut with his fingers in his ears chanting “lalalala can’t hear you Jesus Jesus Jesus”.

    But that’s entirely beside the point. To have been threatened with naming and shaming for posts made pseudonymously on one site by person(s) who have access to logs of posts made on another is disgusting.

    To have inspired in me feelings of solidarity with Colonial Viper is yet another crime to add to the list for which the current Labour management cabal should be held accountable.

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  55. Pete George (23,168 comments) says:

    I managed to avoid CV so we rarely engaged. And he left me alone, he wasn’t one of the resident bitches of blog.

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  56. SHG (367 comments) says:

    Am I the only one to see a familiar pattern of “someone speaks out, he/she gets added to the list, background check gets done, attack gets made” in Labour? Am I the only one to notice familiar faces when it happens?

    The Erin Leigh incident is of course the prime example:
    http://www.3news.co.nz/Rennie-Its-time-to-apologise-over-Erin-Leigh/tabid/1135/articleID/226710/Default.aspx#

    Then there was Claire Robinson getting “innuendoed” after her pre-election debate commentary:
    http://spinprofessor.tumblr.com/post/12178394225/twitter-at-its-worst-hearsay-and-rudeness

    And now this latest clusterf*ck. Just noticed this comment from “Anon” reposted at Pete George’s blog:

    I’ve seen the letter. It exists, it is from Clare Curran to the NZ Council, and The Standard authors’ representations of it are accurate. It specifically targets Colonial Viper and talks about a need to do something to bring The Standard into line.

    Obviously I can’t reveal my identity because I don’t want to be targeted and defamed myself. (emphasis mine)

    Mallard, Curran, Mallard, Curran…

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  57. Manolo (13,514 comments) says:

    You’re right, SHG.
    The evil duo of the thug Mallard and the underwhelming Curran appear every time someone is defamed.
    These two rascals are made for each other.

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  58. Reid (16,074 comments) says:

    One aspect of this that hasn’t yet been discussed much is why is Labour doing this? One of the reasons I suspect is because Liarbore lives on propaganda. It’s what lefties eat, sleep and breathe. Therefore they have much more sensitive antennae than your average conservative. I’m not saying this justifies what they’re doing, they’re still quite wrong in that they have mis-diagnosed the issue both in scope and nature plus they have mis-applied an inappropriate antidote which won’t work; I’m only saying it’s one of the factors in why they are doing it.

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  59. Pete George (23,168 comments) says:

    No, you’re not the only one SHG. See my last post (as linked above at 2.40 pm), the last line of that is:

    Clare Curran? Trevor Mallard? Who else is involved or approves?

    There’s quite a bit pointing in that direction. I’ll summarise what you’ve put together alongside this tonight in a post.

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  60. Pete George (23,168 comments) says:

    Reid – Labour thought that embracing social media would win their true and devoted following. Hence Curran promoting Open Labour in 2010. Great fanfare and hope.

    But it has exposed how they operate and highlighted how they will do whatever it takes to try and control the message. Except they can’t control it, it’s out of control and biting them on the bum big time.

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  61. Reid (16,074 comments) says:

    Except they can’t control it, it’s out of control and biting them on the bum big time.

    No they can it’s just IMO a lousy message, that’s what the idiots haven’t realised. When they have a good message like their lotto for homes policy things go swimmingly. But most of the rest of their platform is non-existent, at a time when workers are crying out for relief. This is also what the fools don’t get. They see the ground is fertile and they can’t understand why they’re not making huge swathes of traction. This is the engine that’s driving all this peculiar behaviour. And they think it’s because there’s too much “interference” in the airwaves. The idiots think this is what the issue is.

    The amusing thing is that in order to escape their situation, the Caucus idiots are going to have to overcome their monstrous self-righteous supercilious arrogance and admit they have been wrong. And we’re talking about people like Cullen and Wilson who personify the self-righteous supercilious arrogance that most of the current caucus currently has. Can you imagine Cullen or Wilson admitting they were wrong? For years? Spent years going down the wrong track, since Hulun lost, basically. Can you imagine either of those people admitting they’d done that? And that’s what the idiots can’t confront.

    Fuck it’s funny.

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  62. bhudson (4,736 comments) says:

    @Reid,

    One aspect of this that hasn’t yet been discussed much is why is Labour doing this?

    Curran is obsessed with “managing the message.” I think that covers your “why?”. As to why it isn’t working that well. I suspect a competence issue.

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  63. SHG (367 comments) says:

    Curran is obsessed with “managing the message.”

    To the point where nobody can even tell what the message is, because everyone’s too busy pointing and laughing at Curran’s management of, um, the, whatever.

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  64. Steve (North Shore) (4,517 comments) says:

    Colonial Viper has had a messege from the top and been censored.
    Clear, I did not know you had that power that Helen gave you. Or are you just a pawn to educate Socialist Cindy?

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  65. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Burn you labour fuckers ,burn

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  66. lprent (102 comments) says:

    It was an issue that originally came up just under a year ago in the week before the December 19th. I wrote a post about it then and made my distaste for the lack of control at Red Alert quite clear then.

    http://thestandard.org.nz/comment-privacy-and-fools/

    I was actually responding to Cameron Slater being his usual stupid self when he attributed the leaks to The Standard, presumably because he was a bit too sluggish to look at the other obvious alternatives. In that case there were two known security breaches. One of which was

    A week or so ago, one of our commentators was having gossip spread around the Labour camp that they were one of our authors. Like all possible security breaches on this site I investigated because if it came from this site it would violate our privacy provisions (and I’d have someones guts for garters).

    Some of the long time commentators here will know exactly what I’m like when the issue of outing our authors comes up. In this case it was someone getting blamed because whoever had done the correlation had done it purely on a IP number because they shared a common DSLAM.

    If it had been The Standard that the leak had happened at, then the correct person would have been outed – not the commentator that got defamed. I am sure of where the breach of privacy happened, and it was not at this site. I am also sure of which site that the security breach happened at.

    That site obviously was at Red Alert. There was at least one other case where I’m sure that information came out of their site because it could have come from nowhere else.

    In a large part this statement is because of fools like Cameron Slater who show no respect for the privacy of people. He regularly attempts to ‘out’ our authors and even commentators (and invariably fails) and doesn’t even have a policy statement about privacy on his site. Neither does a similar fool on the site that leaked the the incorrect information.

    I’d advise people to never put comments on sites that lacks a privacy policy that is explicit about what information may be used for.

    Subsequently the numbers of comments left at Red Alert has steadily dropped.

    BTW: for those of you who are not aware of it, this site actually has a privacy policy that makes it pretty clear what will or will not happen and why. It isn’t exactly what I’d consider to be fully adequate, but it is probably acceptable once you understand the risks.

    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/privacy_policy

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  67. Manolo (13,514 comments) says:

    And he even has to gall to show his loathsome totalitarian face!
    Go away, lprent, you little tyrant.

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  68. lprent (102 comments) says:

    Hi Man. Always nice to renew my memories about those long-lost personalities that picked up bans. They do tend to form a congregation here.

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