Almost four years ago now, myself and some Guildford-based Liberal Democrats were smeared via a series of anonymous weblogs and anonymous comments on established weblogs (see latest post).
Many of these smears were a direct response to my weblog about Anne Milton (1, 2), who was then the MP for Guildford and is now campaigning to retain the seat. During this period, I found evidence that two Conservative activists attached to Anne Milton (Dennis Paul and Mike Chambers) were involved in these smears against me, as well as the worst of the smears against some local Lib Dems (specifically, the accusation that one of their opponents was paedophile).
No meaningful action was taken. Certainly nothing was done that led to the removal of the smears. But I am now advised that an ‘investigation’ of sorts did take place, and it is here that we cut to the account of my source, whose name will be revealed shortly…
MC: “Two years ago, there was an ‘investigation’ I suppose you can call it that. I remember it and all the candidates were asked if they were aware of any involvement…”
Perhaps there was more to this investigation than just asking people if they were involved, but no-one from the Guildford Association showed any active interest in my testimony or any of the evidence I had to hand.
I pointed out to my source that I wasn’t asked for any further details during this ‘investigation’ (or told of any result after). When I emailed details, those emails were ignored. When I followed up with a phone call, I was instructed to “put it in writing”, and the most likely reason for this was explained as follows:
MC: “I know it’s not nice to be, feel ignored, stonewalled, whatever you call it, and I’m just guessing that, in the case of Anne Milton, she’d formed a view, influenced no doubt by your approach to her and then later supported or influenced by [Dennis Paul’s] concerns about hacking and stuff and, I have to say your view, within the Conservative Association, you were, like you said an ‘angry man’, that was hacking computers, sending viruses…”
Tim: “Was that a widespread view?”
MC: “Well, ‘widespread view’, I mean….”
Tim: “Well, you said that was the view within the Conservative Association.”
MC: “Yeah, Association strictly speaking is all of the members…”
MC: “… what I’m talking about really is the centre core; the Chairman [Jonathon Lord], and the senior officers, and of course our MP [Anne Milton].”
If this claim is true, then Dennis Paul was successfully denying involvement in a smear campaign against me and others… by engaging in a further smear campaign against me; one specifically accusing me of criminal acts and intentions.
My source went on to claim that Jonathon Lord (then Chairman of the Guildford Conservative Association, now Parliamentary Candidate for Woking), Anne Milton (then Guildford MP, currently Parliamentary Candidate for Guildford) and others had subsequently adopted the position I was a criminal hacker capable of targeting anyone who received/opened/answered emails from me, or even just visited my website.
(To put his ‘guessing’ into context, my source was guessing that this was the reason why I was having difficulty communicating with these people, but he was in no doubt about the specifics of the claims made by Dennis Paul and who they had influenced.)
This fresh account tallies with material published by Dennis Paul at the time:
“If you contribute by blogging genuinely on some sites, you may provide the host with your IP address when you blog which enables unscrupulous hackers to attack your computer. That is why they are so obsessed with the IP identity of those who blog. You may limit this risk by moving from a static IP address to a Dynamic IP address, but you are still vulnerable while you remain online without protection.” – Published under his own name by Dennis Paul (16 Aug, 2006)
“A number of liberal supporters in Guildford are graduates with computing expertese. They can hack through website visitors pc with ease – all they need is your IP address to target your computer. These ‘blogsites’ are a venus fly trap to them. At a national level, Police intellegence use the same expertese to monitor and catch muslim extremists. You only have to visit their site and they can target you. The best thing is to avoid their sites altogether, and avoid clicking on links that could take you to their sites.” – Published as an anonymous comment by Dennis Paul (22 Aug, 2006)
I agree. If you click on links to these sites, who knows where it could take you. Next thing you know, you could be on some paedo site with the Police knocking on your door accusing you of visiting innapropriate websites.” – Published as an anonymous comment by Dennis Paul (22 Aug, 2006)
We also have this, which is either (a) the work of Dennis Paul or a core member of the Guildford Conservative Association, or (b) a pretty good indication that the alleged smear spread further than Dennis Paul and the core of the Guildford Conservative Association. This ‘talk’ edit from Wikipedia attempts to justify repeated attempts to remove links to my site from Anne Milton’s Wikipedia entry:
“I removed a section that contained inaccurate information, and links to a libellous web site. This is not vandalism at all. The person’s web site whos link I removed is a vandal and a hacker and was arrested for hacking last year, so should not be promoted in any way on this site, which is the home of factual information not lies and self promotion.” – Published by an unknown contributor to Wikipedia (01 Dec, 2006)
For the record, I have NEVER hacked anybody or fed any viruses or Trojans to anybody, and I certainly haven’t been arrested for these or any other offences.
But I do appear to have been cut off from democracy at a local level by a smear (while another innocent man appears to have endured an even worse smear for far longer than was necessary), purely because the ‘expert’ testimony of Dennis Paul was accepted by local Conservatives. Oh, and David Cameron.
David Cameron’s office was presented with all published evidence, but the local Association’s view held and the Conservatives decided to back Dennis Paul as a candidate. I got an email with this in it on the same day Dennis was having his picture taken with the man himself:
“We have looked into the concerns you raise regarding Guildford Conservatives and are satisfied that these matters are being carefully investigated at the local level.” – David Beal, Correspondence Secretary, David Cameron’s Office (01 Feb, 2007)
I’m seeking an immediate response from Anne Milton, Jonathon Lord, the Guildford Conservative Association.
I am hoping they will admit the allegations and immediately disown the lies of Dennis Paul. Unless they wish to deny what’s been alleged here, of course, in which case they will need to immediately disown the lies of Mike Chambers… because he’s my source.
(Psst! That sound you hear is a dozen local coffees being spat out at once.)
Either way, Anne Milton can no longer ignore the hole she dug for herself when she trusted either or both of these clowns as campaigners and went on to endorse them as candidates.
More to follow.
[For the record, Mike Chambers denies involvement in the 2006 paedo-smears, and puts forward the view that they were a part of a ‘dirty tricks’ set-up by the Lib Dems, who smeared themselves and/or one of their own for political gain. He has no evidence to back this up, only his personal certainty that the Lib Dems are the real nasty party, and the only people capable of such deeds.]