Monday, June 29, 2009

See That Shark? Watch Me Jump It

Meanwhile, The Great 'Rudd Shields Swan Over Fake Email (GRSFEC)' Conspiracy Theory Takes Shape

By Darryl Mason

After a consistently entertaining and dramatic week in politics in which utes and emails came to feature together for the first time in newspaper headlines. The Daily Telegraph's Piers Akerman straps on his water skis and submits his claim for monumental irrelevancy,
The last weeks of the winter session have been more damaging to the Rudd Labor Government than the Coalition, no matter how you slice it.
The first polls after the solid week of Utegate headlines, hysteria and claims of snarky conspiracy, show the opposite of what Akerman effervescently claims, and the damage inside the Liberal true believer ranks seems intense :

Malcolm Turnbull has paid for his botched attack on Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, with more than half of voters believing he was deceitful about a now-notorious fake email. Even among committed Coalition voters, nearly a third believe he has been deceitful and another 10 per cent say he has been dishonest.

A Galaxy poll taken at the weekend has revealed the Opposition Leader's integrity has taken a hammering, revealing a rump of only 7 per cent of voters who think he was "open and honest" during the affair.

If it turns out that Turnbull was speaking, mostly, honestly throughout his dozens of interviews last week, something else will be needed to explain why so many Australians looked at Turnbull being interviewed on TV and thought, 'Oh, this guy is so full of shit.'

Malcolm Turnbull was interviewed by the AFP ("The Feds" for American readers) on Sunday, and Labor keeps hammering that Turnbull has something to hide. Something big. Maybe even a little dark, sinister.

Those kinds of vague claims crack deep into our culture's love-hate mistrust of politicians. We love corrupt politicians in novels and TV shows, the bastards, but we hate them in real life, those bastards.

And A Politician Who Has Something To Hide From The Feds feeds our political thriller fiction-fuelled desire to see corrupt politicians flayed publicly and prosecuted rigorously, regardless of who they are.

So Lindsay Tanner goes for a gushing head wound :
"Clearly, he's not going to provide his computer records to the federal police," Mr Tanner told the Nine Network.

"Given the nature of the potential crimes we're dealing with here, that is appalling. He should be making all assistance available to the federal police in order that they can determine whether any serious crimes have been committed and pursue them accordingly if they have been."

Brutal. And damn hard to shake off, even if the AFP interrupted Masterchef for ten minutes to announce that Malcolm Turnbull was in the clear and there was no reason to doubt his honesty on anything ute or e-mail related anymore. Even then, there would be plenty of Australians wandering around muttering, "Malcolm Turnbull? Dodgy prick."

Piers Akerman asked his readers the following question :
....did anyone really believe someone within Treasury would be sending faked emails?
Commenters responded to his call for exploration of a larger conspiracy involving Rudd & Swan and reasonably high-tech fakery and so was crafted a conspiracy theory swollen with potentially thrilling drama, tech-treachery and possible falls from power that makes you want to shout "I Want To See This Movie! (or at least read the book)', even if the theory doesn't turn out, in the end, to be actual reality. Some of these comments from Akerman's blog have been slightly
edited :
Michael A replied to lethal
Sun 28 Jun 09 (06:26am)

It is very interesting that the AFP were able to tell everyone the email was a fake almost immediately but have still not enlightened us as to the origins of the email. Was this all a Labor setup?

Angry God replied to lethal
Sun 28 Jun 09 (12:06pm)

As far as I understand computers and managed networks such as government systems, they facts are that the original email would contain data known as the MAC addreess. This is a unique number (that can be spoofed if you know what you are doing). The managed network locks these MAC addresses to the network switch.

A resonable investigator would have been able to identify the originating computer in a few seconds if they were competant. We assume that they are competant and as such we know that the AFP knows which computer initiated the modified (read fake) email.

In a managed network the spoofing of a MAC address within an email will be highlighted as a security breach. So either no spoofing of the MAC address occured or the email was sent from an outside of government network computer.

The AFP will know this info. It will be interesting where the fake comes from as it will be identified by this method.

Ann replied to lethal
Sun 28 Jun 09 (12:24pm)

The cursory search of PMO and Treasury computers by Rudd lackeys found no evidence of email so Rudd shrieks “It’s a fake”. Yet AFP take five minutes to find it was generated on a Treasury computer, sent to Grech home computer then deleted from Treasury computer.

samantha replied to lethal
Sun 28 Jun 09 (02:41pm)

For me, there are two really big questions that need to be answered. WHO in Treasury devised the email, and for what purpose?

Sammi replied to lethal
Sun 28 Jun 09 (03:03pm)

The Treasury generated email was created to catch their leak and it was made as juicy as possible to make sure it would be passed on to the Opposition and used, hence Rudd knew about it before it re-emerged. It also served the double purpose of covering up the copious email trail created by Swan and Co while attempting to secure a loan for Rudd’s mate.

It's a very interesting theory. And no-one showed up to try and dispel it, for many hours on Sunday.

Unlike the Liberal Party staffers who haunt News Limited blogs, do the Labor Party staffers who zip around online, posting anonymous comments on blogs as they run interference, dispensing disinformation, countering accusations, get the whole the weekend off?

Piers Akerman, for what's it worth, is convinced the Great Rudd & Swan Fake Email Scandal still has plenty of drama to be played out :
...the hard evidence still shows that Swan did more in his attempt to assist Rudd’s car-dealer mate, John Grant, than he did for any other car dealer in the nation.

That is indisputable.

Treasury officials, operating on clear instructions from Swan’s office, went to extraordinary lengths on Grant’s behalf.

We'll see. But it would be no great surprise if Rudd and Swan produce something that gets them off the hook. Rudd promised to "mess with their heads" when he became Labor Party leader, and it doesn't look like he has given that strategy even a week off since.

Being the mind-bogglingly biased Liberal Party flunkie and junkie that he is, Akerman wants his readers to believe that whatever happens, it's Not Yet Over for Malcolm Turnbull. Akerman has to rally the team for the man who said that John Howard broke Australia's heart. Akerman knows Turnbull is shedding support faster than Brendan Nelson railing against whatever, but he has to pump for Turnbull. And throw in something conspiratorial about the Greens as well.

This is what Akerman does for a living.

But I'm not convinced that even if Wayne Swan was seized by the AFP and sent in chains to the SuperMax for a solid water-boarding session to finally get him to answer e-mail and ute related questions that happen to be those very "Not The Right Questions" he has refused to answer so far, that Malcolm Turnbull would still be able to effectively change the clearly very real belief amongst so many voters that he is brimming with bullshit and a craptastic liar as well.

Australians love great liars.

It was long part of our oral storytelling tradition to try and spin the wildest yarns, and any brave and bold attempt to pass off a story mostly comprised of obvious fiction was always admired, even if the teller couldn't carry the tale convincingly.

But we can't respect nor tolerate bad liars. And Malcolm Turnbull, like Swan, is a bottom shelf liar.

Turnbull thinks he is a rare brandy, but he is a harsh house spirit scotch when it comes to effectively bullshitting the Australian public. His face is a billboard screaming, "Don't listen to my words, look at my eyes, see? even I don't believe what I'm saying, why should you?"

Joe Hockey loometh.