On the subject of Nadine Dorries and some recent deletions

This entry was posted on
Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008
10:25 am and is filed
under The Political Weblog Movement.

Well, it looks like Phil Hendren isn’t the only retro-moderating right-wing blogger on the loose today; Nadine Dorries is busily rearranging her website to avoid the consequences of a complaint she was laughing off just a few short days ago.

Too bad for her that I have copies saved. This is something you eventually get into a habit of doing when you’re obsessive when you’re dealing with a whole tribe of pseudo-bloggers who have a history of changing their website(s)/profile(s), inventing back-stories and/or and claiming that this or that never happened.


Unity says it best right here:

Call it a ‘code of honour’ if you like, but the general gist is that reverse-engineering your way out of an embarrassing situation is a no-no and a major breach of ethics in a medium in which reputation and transparency of behaviour are part of the social glue that keeps the medium ticking over.

Speaking of deletions and reputations, I was reminded of a past event this morning by Nadine’s most recent nonsense and Phil Hendren’s outrage over a ‘set up’ and – after checking one the darker corners of the web and seeing that this too has been retro-moderated out of existence – I can finally file a full report without fear of inadvertently libelling Nadine Dorries in the process:

Way back when Nadine Dorries was levelling false accusations at Dr Ben Goldacre, Ellee Seymour was busily retro-moderating her website to keep pesky facts at bay, and Phil Hendren (aka ‘Dizzy’) was helpfully running interference by being a deliberate pain in the arse, ‘Dizzy’ managed to get not-at-all-outraged when someone laid a little honey-trap for me that was so OTT it was actually damaging to the woman he claimed to be defending at the time.

The events are best explained by publishing this email that I sent to Nadine Dorries in November last year (and no, she didn’t reply to it):

—– Original Message —–
From: Tim Ireland
To: dorriesn@parliament.uk
Sent: Monday, November 12, 2007 2:51 PM
Subject: URGENT: actionable claims

Dear Nadine,

Just in case you’re not already aware, the following anonymous weblog was created by persons unknown in the early hours of Saturday morning:

An attempt was made to anonymously publish links to that URL at the following websites:

Each of the webmasters of the above websites took swift action to remove the URL and/or references to it (example)…

… but you should be aware that the person behind this website will most likely continue in their attempts to – by implication – smear those who have been critical of you, while not giving a damn about the possible cost to yourself.

(In case it is not clear, I am aware of the rumour behind the most actionable claim made on this anonymous weblog, and I have expressed a view on it here [snip])

I have my suspicions about who is behind the anonymous weblog but, sadly, cannot share them with you.

I can, however, issue you with a warning that what appears to be a clear trail to the person behind it (the IP address that appears as if it were used to create the anonymous weblog and make a relevant edit to Wikipedia: see below) is almost certainly a FALSE one, laid out for my benefit.

Nevertheless, I have already issued an abuse report [*] to the relevant provider, as this could be an important first step to confirming – at least – if any IP shenanigans are afoot.

You may wish to issue a complaint to Blogger.com about the content, but you should also be aware that I’ve been involved in a similar case…

… and Blogger will in these cases either refuse to remove the material and/or ‘helpfully’ suggested that you get in touch with the site owner (who, obviously, is going to great lengths to mask their identity).

This anonymous weblog had a tracking package in place that was not only accessible to the public, but openly dangled. It provides the following data about the first tracked visits to the anonymous weblog that clearly show referrals from Blogger-based URLs indicating that this first tracked visitor is also the blog creator:

The same IP address was logged during this (since corrected) edit at Wikipedia:

I cannot stress enough that I think this is a false trail laid out for my benefit, but it might regardless pay to check the IP addresses used to submit to you – via comments and email – the ‘vicious and personal’ material you claim to have received and see if is among them.


Tim Ireland

PS – I do look forward to the day when you can allow comments on your site again, not least because it will save me a small amount of time and effort. I would heartily recommend the use of WordPress, which is far superior to your current platform in every respect, but will also say that you will have difficulty regardless of platform until you deliver the apology that Ben Goldacre deserves.

[*I got nothing back from that report, BTW.]

This was, in short, a joe-job and a honey trap:

The creator was attempting to pose as an opponent of Dorries under comments on several weblogs, thereby establishing those bloggers as co-bullies and publishers of links to clear libel. If it were left at that, it would be potentially damaging to all opponents of Dorries.

If I blogged about the joe-job and/or followed the trail that was so obviously dangled, there was clear risk of repeating the libel myself and making false claims about the person(s)/organisations using the relevant IP address.

Now, I wish to stress here that this was an effort to damage the opponents of Nadine Dorries with no thought for the damage it might cause her; the claims made about her sex life were quite specific and quite explicit.

(Obviously I’m not going to give any details, but the relevant Wikipedia edit should give you a good idea of how low this one person would go.)

And yet Phil Hendren, who was right there and part of the conversation when this site was created and promoted, has so far managed to contain his outrage about that attempted set-up.

Unless, of course, he somehow missed it or was simply trying to be as cautious/considerate as I was.

[Over to you, ‘Dizzy’. What are your thoughts on the unknown author of the ‘Ironed Sardine’ weblog? Got any moral outrage to spare, me old mucker? Just while we’re waiting for our mystery player to get back from their holiday…]

UPDATE – It was John Hirst’s idea of a joke, apparently. More here.

About Tim Ireland

Tim is the sole author of Bloggerheads.
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