Over the past week a number of individuals connected with Bonita Mersiades’s fight for justice against a spurious defamation action that is intended to destroy her (remember, the plaintiffs Benjamin Richardson and Robert Cavallucci are seeking $800,000 PLUS interest) have encountered the sharp end of these twenty-first century crimes.
Hacking. Fake email accounts. Denial-of-service attacks.
We published our first investigation on the Ben Richardson case last Friday. It has caused a stir in Australia, far beyond the football community.
Only a few hours later, last weekend, and again on the early hours of Wednesday, right after the publication of our third article, this website encountered at least two separate denial of service attempts and was for a short period not accessible.
Investigators have told us these crude attacks were linked to a single computer in Queensland, Australia.
The home computers of journalist Jens Weinreich were attacked. The hacker from that certain Queensland computer also tried to get access to Weinreich’s email accounts.
These are criminal acts.
The details are now in the hands of the relevant authorities.
The home computer network of journalist James Corbett also came under some sort of attack on Wednesday daytime. After his ISP recorded ‘irregular activity’, a security audit, and updating of passwords and VPN servers seemed to fix the problem. A coincidence, of course.
But then as happenstance would have it, the grassroots football volunteer, Rabieh Krayem, who is organising a fundraiser to help Bonita’s legal campaign, ALSO found himself the victim of a cybercrime.
A fake email was set up in Rabieh’s name not only soliciting payments, but inviting respondents to open up a Trojan virus. Trojans allow hackers to take over the workings of a computer and operate them remotely. Remarkable.
At least two denial-of-service attacks.
Fake email accounts.
It all happened shortly after our publications on the dubious Ben Richardson case.
Attacks were linked to a single computer in Queensland.
This is cybercrime.
But we are sure that this is all a coincidence. Certainly it has nothing to do with Richardson and his Football Queensland (FQ) which is in turmoil.
The depth of the problems at FQ under the charge of president Ben Richardson is remarkable.
What started as an expose of an illegitimate and bogus legal action intended at ruining a brave activist, has actually shown that the defamation suit is the mere tip of the iceberg when it comes to its rottenness.
Over the past fortnight we have heard from staff and the general football community there numerous allegations including petty corruption, bullying, sexual misconduct, corporate mismanagement, perjury, lying, misuse of public funds, dirty tricks, false representation… the list goes on.
Not all concern Football Queensland and not all will be substantiated, but we will investigate everything. And we won’t be bullied out of it.
Our stories are now the subject of two different criminal investigations in different international jurisdictions.
This is serious.
(Of course, the two criminal complaints don’t include the preposterous ‘report’ made to Queensland police by Ashley Tiplady/Mills Oakley, the lawyer of Football Queensland’s president Ben Richardson, for ‘extortion’ when we asked him some questions a fortnight ago. We still wait the crime reference number from Tiplady, so we can properly fulfil our civic duty by handing ourselves in to Queensland cops and sharing important documents with them.)
In case you missed it: This is how Australia’s Golden Generation from the 2006 World Cup, which includes Craig Moore, Lucas Neill, John Aloisi, Josip Skoko and others commented the case. A powerful message of sporting heroes.
We have sought independent counsel, and are across the issues, in the defamation case brought by Football Queensland against Bonita Mersiades.
We want to make it clear that we support Bonita.
The Golden Generation was established earlier this year for one simple reason: we want to take the game forward and secure Australia’s football future.
That is why we put forward five goals to achieve that: to expand the football footprint, to unite the game, to focus on football, to re-boot the A-League, and to own our biggest assets.
For far too long, the game has lost touch with the people who matter most: fans, players, coaches, referees, volunteers, and all those who have helped build the game over decades and who help make it tick-over every day in more than 2,500 clubs across the country.
We are here for those people, of whom Bonita is one.
Australian football needs passionate football people. It needs people who live and breathe it, and who do not think about what football can do for them, but what they can do for football.
We urge the Board of Football Queensland to drop this spurious defamation action against Bonita or be forever condemned for failing to put football first.
We urge the boards of the nine other federations to advise their fellow Congress members to do likewise.
We urge those who are in positions of power in football to welcome – and to get used to – transparency and accountability in their custodianship of our game.
And we urge the real football people of Australia to stand with us against the culture of intimidation and bullying which appears, sadly, to have pervaded the highest management levels of our game.
This might be about ‘getting’ one person as far as Football Queensland is concerned.
But in going after one of us, you are going after all of us.