Comment posted Spygate: Who was ‘John McKinnon’? Was Russell a victim of dirty tricks by a council false persona? by Bob Loblaw.
I’m aware that to engage with a troll will only encourage them, but I just had to in this instance. Rarely have I read a more speculative article. Firstly, this statement:
“The core facts are that:
it very much suited the council administration at that particular time to leak this email,
only the administration, with the collusion of senior staff, could effect such an intervention,
the LibDems had hoped to recover the Argyll and Bute seat which the SNP’s Jim Mather had taken in 2007 and one of their council members was the party candidate in opposition to Mr Russell,
the Alliance of Independent Councillors were set to wreck vengeance on the SNP in their own well documented way, following the SNP group members – against Alliance expectations – going through with their threat to walk out of power if the Alliance would not drop the closure proposals.”
In what way are any of these facts? OK, I’ll admit that the libdem’s wanting to recover a seat may have some basis in fact, but the rest of this comes across as, frankly, delusional.
You then go on to list a number of terms that may have been used in a search string in order to locate an email on the server. Of course these terms could have been used, but that doesn’t mean they were.
You then say that when the coucillors concerned were asked about the issue:
“There were vague and implausible stories of a cleaner finding that Councillor Macdonald had left his computer on after leaving the building… You get the general drift.”
Why on earth is this less plausible than covert surveillance? Are you actually sugesting that a more reasonable explanation is that employees of the council’s IT department were tasked with trawling through the email servers looking for dirt on the councillors?
No, you’re probably right – I mean, that sounds far more likely than some halfwit forgetting to turn off their PC and then a cleaner comes along, perhaps one who’s childrens’ school is under threat of closure. Maybe this cleaner is understanably annoyed and wants to put a stop to it. One thing leads to another, and before you know it a certain email has been sent to people it wasn’t intended for.
But no, that could never have happened could it? A far more likely explantion is the one involving a conspiracy that reaches to the very highest levels of the council and relies on the strictest secrecy from all involved.
I know a fair few Council employees and frankly, I doubt they’d be competent enough to carry out something that complex (Sorry guys, but you know it’s true!).
Onto the source of the leaked email – so, a reporter from the Dunoon Observer doesn’t get a reply to an email they sent? There we have it then! Conclusive proof that the Council and its employees are up to the most nefarious of activities.
Almost the enitre body of the article after the heading “The final question” comes across as a conspiracy theory and the sentence concerning Ms Smith’s possible use of a theoretical surveillance programme is frankly libellous.
I’m no fan of the council, but this article seems like nothing more than a set of egregious allegations linked together by a mixture of speculation and personal attacks.
Bob Loblaw also commented
- Firstly, let me apologise unreservedly for my poor choice of words and for any offence or distress I may have caused – I’ve recently moved back to the area and had no idea that Councillor MacDonald had passed away.
I don’t reject the notion that someone deliberately retrieved a sensitive email from the server, I suggested that an equally (perhaps more) plausible explanation would be that a security breach occurred e.g. someone leaving their computer on. I worked in IT for many years and this happens with depressing regularit. I used the example of a cleaner because that was the example used in the article. It could just have easily been anyone else.
The fact that the email damaged the SNP group is, to me at least, incidental. I am suggesting that it had nothing to do with party politics.
The Council staff are competent enough to find emails on the server, of course they are. It is a comparatively easy procedure. However, some points I would like to make are:
1. I think the suggestion that council staff would do something as morally ambiguous as this is utterly disgusting. The vast majority of them are hard working, principled people who would never even contemplate this type of action.
2.They’ve got far better things to do with their time.
You reference to an FOI request is something completely different. Employees are legally obliged to fulfil these requests and to disclose everything, without prejudice. If any damaging material was disclosed then it is the responsibility of the person who originally wrote it, not the employee who was tasked with retrieving the information. Who, I can pretty much guarantee, wouldn’t read what was in the disclosed documents anyway.
This is an example of the paranoia I referred to in my original post – council employees simply WOULD NOT set out to disclose damaging information. Not on the request of their line manager, head of service, chief exec or even one of the councillors. I used to be a council employee (many moons ago) and if someone had asked me to dig dirt on anyone, they’d have been rapidly and unequivocally told where to stick it.
The over-arching point I was trying to make is that the original article reads like awful piece of paranoia-driven theorising. The writer obviously has an agenda and it looks worryingly like they are trying to defame Ms Smith at every opportunity.
The article about “spy accounts” (which, by the way is a very widely used term when referring to computer accounts of all types) that appeared in the Herald was based on one slide from a powerpoint presentation that was taken completely out of context. Is it fair that the writers of this website are allowed to use that as the basis for a witch-hunt that has absolutely no basis in fact? The very fact they seem to want to drag the issue up at every opportunity leads me to believe that it’s no more than idle gossip. After all, if you say something enough times especially in print, people will come to believe that it’s true.
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