June 15, 2012 Enter your password to view comments.
March 9, 2012 Leave a comment
A few disclaimers to begin…
First, I do not, personally, object to pornography – not at any rate where adults are involved as both “subjects” (viewers) and “objects” (viewed).
I realise some people do have strong moral objections to pornography. I respect their right to hold such opinions. I simply don’t share them myself.
Second, I don’t object to politicians viewing or even making pornography. Politicians are human beings like the rest of us. I don’t wish them to be any different from the rest of us, for better or worse, in their private lives. I respect their right to have a private life. My primary interest in politicians is their politics. If they’re honest, intelligent and work in the public interest, their bedroom or living room kinks are of little interest to me. I believe the sex life of politicians, as they saying goes, is “their business”.
Third, in the unlikely event that aspiring politicians – who also happened to enjoy creating pornography – ever came to me and asked for my advice, I’d probably make a few observations. I’d suggest they might consider using a “domains by proxy” service for their pornographic websites. That should keep their name out of public view. Of course, they might wish to be open about their pornographic activity. For instance, if they intended running as a candidate for the Australian Sex Party, a few naughty websites to their name would probably be de rigeur.
I would advise them against running for a political party that made a big fuss out of “family values” and “moral rectitude” while openly running a pornographic website. That would be courting fate. The long-suffering electorate can put up with many things – and is usually required to do so. But we do detest hypocrisy.
Finally, in the event they ever got caught out running a porn site while standing for a Party with pretensions to “moral purity” – I’d advise them to come clean. I’ve observed enough political stories by this stage in my life – from Watergate onwards – to appreciate the truism that a cover-up is usually worse than the “crime”, especially when the “crime” in question isn’t really criminal at all, just a bit of sleazy stupidity.
With those disclaimers out of the way, here’s a story from the State of Queensland where I happen to live and which is currently in the throes of an election campaign. It concerns an aspiring politician, a rather “racy” website, an improbable denial and what appears to be a clumsy cover-up that might precipitate a political melt-down.
Yesterday, the story broke in the media that a young mortgage broker called Mark Boothman, a member of the conservative Liberal-National Party (LNP) who is standing for election in the Gold Coast constituency of Albert, is listed as the contact for a website called “DarkOsiris.com”.
The website hasn’t been active for some years, although it is still registered in Mr Boothman’s name. However, in past years it was quite active. For several years (between 2003 and 2006), it appears to have contained rather salacious material. Some of Mr Boothman’s political oponents have accused him or running a pornographic website.
As I said, the website is now devoid of content. But even defunct websites can leave traces. More on that in a moment. First, let’s take a look at media commentary once this tasty tale broke in the media…
Mark Boothman’s reaction seems to have been denial. The Sydney Morning Herald reported yesterday morning:
The site was set up almost 10 years ago as a forum for car enthusiasts, he said.
“But, unfortunately over a period of time, adult content was uploaded to the site,” he said.
“In 2004, the site was continually under attack from hackers and was being hijacked from its original purpose and was getting beyond my control.”
Because of this, it was shut down in 2006, he said.
The same SMH story further reported that LNP Party leader decided to investigate before making a decision on whether to dis-endorse Mr Boothman as an LNP candidate:
The Gold Coast Bulletin on Thursday reported Mr Boothman was the registrant, administrative contact and technical contact for DarkOsiris.com, which promoted “hot sex scenes” and had links such as “Control Your Bitches”, “So much porn” and “hot teen”.
If the party had dumped him, it would have been left without a candidate in the seat because nominations have closed.
LNP leader Campbell Newman earlier said that wouldn’t influence the party’s decision.
“I’m not prejudging what the results of an investigation is going to be,” he said.
“Let’s just make sure that he gets a fair go.”
Later in the day, the story had progressed. At 6.34pm on March 8th the Australian Broadcasting Corporation filed a story entitled Newman backs candidate linked to porn site:
Queensland’s Liberal National Party leader Campbell Newman has defended his decision not to axe an election candidate over his links to a pornographic website.
Mortgage broker Mark Boothman remains the registered administrator of the site, which he says was hacked and had adult content uploaded to it.
The site was shut down in 2006.
Mr Newman says he has been informed that Mr Boothman set up a website for motor enthusiasts which was then “hijacked”.
He says the party has done its due diligence and he is satisfied with Mr Boothman’s explanation.
“He was not, on the information we have, running a porn site – end of story,” he said.
“Any imputation that he was in some way trying to make money out of pornography, that he was actively running a pornography site, is totally and utterly untrue.”
Mr Boothman is free to run against Labor MP Margaret Keech for the northern Gold Coast seat of Albert.
Ms Keech holds the seat with a 6.5 per cent margin.
Had Mr Boothman been stood down, the LNP would not have been able to field another candidate because nominations for the March 24 election are closed.
But Mr Newman says that did not influence the party’s decision.
“That’s immaterial… the case has been investigated, it’s been decided on its merits,” he said.
‘We wouldn’t have been afraid to get rid of somebody if they had been on the ballot paper and they’d done the wrong thing.”
End of story? Well, maybe. But is Mr Boothman really telling the truth? And has his Party leader Cambell Newman – the man who likes to be known as ‘CanDo’ – really done the “due diligence” he claims?
Here’s where those footprints that I mentioned previously come into the story. There’s a well-known facility known as the Internet Archive ‘Wayback Machine’. Doubtless the web-savvy Mr Boothman is aware of this. Campbell Newman may not be, but he is a Party leader who hopes to become Premier; presumably he has competent advisors?
At any rate, viewers at home can try this for themselves if they’re at all interested in making their own assessment about whether or not Mr Boothman is telling porkies – and whether Campbell Newman’s “due diligence” is worth a pinch of the proverbial shit.
Here’s the link to ‘DarkOsiris.com’ on the Wayback Machine.
As you’ll notice, the site was indeed first active in 2003. It ran ‘hot’ until 2006 – then it seems to have run out of steam. There are entries after than, but they seem to contain no data.
So perhaps Mr Boothman is telling the truth when he says the site was started as a site for “motor enthusiasts” – then it was “hacked” – but he then shut it down (presumably after discovering this shocking news) in 2006?
A screenshot from 2004 could be consistent with that narrative (see below). This is the kind of HomePage that could have been hacked without the administrator noticing. It’s possible, I guess…
By mid 2006, the Wayback Machine archive entry shows a website that was really humming with activity. By that time, DarkOsiris.com had a forum. It seems to have been rather busy.
Here, for instance, is a screenshot of the forum index dated July 13th 2006:
Is it really possible that a complex piece of software could have been installed and attract thousands of posts without the Admin/Tech Contact knowing a thing about it?
Perhaps it is. But is it likely?
I think not – but what do I know? ‘CanDo’ Newman is standing by his man. He seems to know more than I do about this rather tacky subject.
Yesterday Newman stated “Any imputation that (Mr Boothman) was in some way trying to make money out of pornography, that he was actively running a pornography site, is totally and utterly untrue” (emphasis added).
Perhaps it’s time that Mark Boothman tells voters:
- whether he called the police when his website was so seriously “hacked” and if not, why not?
- did he ever find out who “hacked” his website for longer than two years and ran a busy web forum at his expense?
- would he care to swear an affidavit confirming his story?
Journalists might like to ask Mr Newman what he means by terms such as “due diligence” and “totally and utterly untrue”.
Are these the 2012 equivalents of “don’t you worry about that“?