So Abbott has beenÂ caught with his hand in the conspiracy jar & the first place he decided to go was with the IT problem angle. Having worked in the industry for a long time (almost 20 years), I felt it was my duty to explain how Abbott’s line that “during April the computer server timestamps were sometimes out by up to 10 hours” was wrong, & why it was at best improbably, at worse, impossible.
Let’s take this on face value: the Australian Parliament House (APH) network, like most corporate & government networks, is a complex beast. Spanning politicians on all sides of parliament & public servants alike, security is paramount. To maintain the level of security in APH time is essential.
THE TECHNICAL DETAILS
If you work in IT, you know that setting a clock even 1hr out your network will fall over, the tolerances for Windows Server is 5 minutes difference in time. Even if you set a different timezone, Windows Server will not accept login credentials from a client computer if the time is more than 5 minutes out.
This, however, is not what Abbott is claiming. He is claiming that the SERVER was out by 10 hours, which means the WHOLE of the APH network should have been out by 10hrs. This is obviously not the case, otherwise this massive IT failure would have cause chaos during April 2012 in APH. You would have thought such a massive administrative failure would be headline news, not unlike the recent transition from Exchange to Office 365 that exposed calendars of politicians.
So how could the time be set wrong if all these boxes are ticked? Well, there are two ways: when the server was initially set up the person doing so just clicked through rather than reading the prompts, this, however, would give the system a -8:00GMT (US Pacific) time zone, not GMT (10hrs out). The other way is for a domain admin like myself to set the Active Directory (AD) server to 10 hours out & attempt to propagate it across the network. This will mostly not work as AD updates in 15 minute increments & the time is synchronised during this phase. If the servers connected to the AD server are out by 10hrs, they will not synchronise as the Kerberos Server (Windows Server’s authentication protocol) will reject their authentication requests.
The last ditch effort for Abbott would be the files being created locally on a computer that’s 10hrs out, then moved to the files to the server. This, however, would still show the actual time of creation according to the server time zone, not the client. Add to this, Abbott would not have been able to connect to the network if his laptop was 10hrs out.
TIME IS EVERYTHING
According to separate reports, the time the documents could be created are 11:08pm or 11:32pm. Considering the document was sent at 9:17am the next day, if the clocks were 10hrs out, that would mean the document was created, typed up, & converted to PDF 9 minutes before being sent out, or, it was created AFTER being sent. Something doesn’t match up here, & I’m sure email, server, & support ticket logs will show that the documents were indeed created prior to The Australian publishing the story the press release was in relation to.
So what does this mean? Well, Abbott is both lying & embroiled in the Ashby affair. We know that Brough, Pyne & Bishop have all played their part in this, so how could Abbott not be involved? He has already shown contempt for democratically elected politicians with his Australians for Honest Politics slush fund, the Ashby case fits the same modus operandi.
UP TO HIS EYEBALLS
Abbott’s attempt to use technical excuses in the Ashby/Brough affair shows that he is not only heavily involved, but it’s clear he is trying to cover up his involvement in a conspiracy to bring down a sitting member of parliament, & the legitimate government of Australia.
Seeing as there are no journalists willing to run forensics on these files, I have requested to see the PDFs, documents & emails from said journos. I will update this post as more information comes to light.
[UPDATE]:Â I have obtained PDFs edited on 23/04/12 (after the press release) & it seems the timezone information has been modified to show it as UTC on the 23/04/12 at around 9:30am. By default MS word outputs PDFs in local time as you can see by the following image. The top one is Abbott’s press release, the bottom from a PDF I just output from MS Word.
[UPDATE2]: To clarify, the top dates are from Abbott’s PDF & clearly show that 1) it was created in MS Word, which only supports LOCAL time zone dates, & 2) that the “Created On” date has been edited to have a “Z” (UTC) instead of “+10’00′” as the “Modified Date” shows. This is a glaring discrepancy & shows that the documents were edited before being submitted to APH. Even if this is the case, the 2nd document sent in the press release would have to have been created AFTER it was sent if the time zone was indeed UTC. Â I have tested to see if a document created within UTC time zone would output with a Z as the time zone code, it will not when exported for MS Word, the time zone code defaults to “+00’00′”, the only time you will get a Z time zone denotation is if you export via Adobe Acrobat itself & not with the Microsoft Word PDF export. We can clearly see this is not the case from the “PDF Creator” & “PDF Producer” line.
Keep the tweets coming in if I’m not clear enough, but this is getting way out of layman’s terms.
[UPDATE3]:Â The PDF created by the same user (mcdulingg) submitted from the day before clearly shows “+10’00′” (AEST) time zone. So that’s that, the date has been modified on the 23/04/12 to attempt to show the time zone as UTC.
[UPDATE4]: It seems some detective work by ClarenceGirl over at the North Coast Voices blog has unearthed some interesting information (cheers for the tipoff):
Abbottâ??s maths just donâ??t add up. In endeavouring to explain away what at first glance appears to be a pre-emptive media release, he forgets to check the Internet and therefore does not discover the fact that hisÂ Statement on Peter Slipper MPÂ media release is quoted inÂ the published transcript of an 8am radio show a whole 1 hour and 10 minutes before the revised time he gives for transmission by his office of that same media release.
It seems that this radio report by Adam Harvey was broadcast a full hour before the documents were claimed to have been created by Abbott, giving more water to the already mounting evidence. It seems journalists are refusing to join the dots & do any real investigation into this matter of utmost national importance. There is little evidence to back up Abbott’s claims, & without a full inquiry into this the truth of the matter will never be uncovered.
The more the traditional media attempts to sweep this matter under the carpet, the more confidence is given to s & citizen journalists. To be honest, I have no problem with this, & I encourage more crowd sourcing, citizen journalism & blogging on these issues to hold ALL politicians to account.
[UPDATE5]: (so many updates) Well, it seems Mark Colvin () of ABC Radio has stated that Adam Harvey’s story was posted using the AWST (Perth) time zone.
The transcript for the Adam Harvey story is actually the updated Perth version, 3 hours later. can explain to you why
— Mark Colvin ()
it ran 3rd at 0800 AEST and then updated and ran 2nd at 0800 WST (1000 AEST)
— Shane McLeod ()
It seems the story was submitted at 8am AEST but rebroadcast later with references to the press release.
There are still questions about the apparent modification of documents, & PDF’s from the same user (mcdulingg)Â having the correct time zone on documents processed on the same day.’
[UPDATE6]: (I swear, this is the last one) I have been sent the original, unedited PDFs by a journalist. Looking at the PDFs & the date formatting, it seems the date output by MS Word 2007 has defaulted to a “null time zone” format, meaning it is timestampped with the local time. As I have stated in UPDATE3, mcdulingg’s computer’s time zone was set to +10hrs, as we can see from the PDF output on the same day via Adobe Distiller. This means that the unedited document is showing +10hrs time zone on the originals, and not, as Abbott has claimed, 10 hours out.
Some testing by twitter users with Word 2007 & Adobe Acrobat have confirmed that a file output by Word 2007 with a null time zone will be reverted to Zulu time upon being edited & saved in Adobe Acrobat as there is no timezone information available so Acrobat assumes Zulu time. This does mean that the original files were output at 23:08 (& 32 seconds) on 20/04/12 in the AEST (+10hrs) time zone, meaning Abbott’s office was not only aware of the impending report from News LTD, but had enough time to prepare a statement the night before.
Yes, this has confirmed my suspicions that the edited file was not showing the correct time zone, and while more than likely this was not changed for malicious reasons, it does show that Abbott’s “10 hours out” to be bullshit on so many levels. It’s clear that Abbott was made aware of much more than he’s letting on.
Unedited Statement on Peter Slipper MP from the office of Tony Abbott MHR: view
Edited Statement on Peter Slipper MP from the office of Tony Abbott MHR: view
Reference document to determine time zone of mcdulingg’s computer: view
NB: my site may slow down A LOT if everyone grabs the PDFs. If you don’t have access to the tools to look at time zones, don’t bother. Thanks.