Before I tell you how I uncovered Mark Allan’s fake identities that were used to defame me and support Knysna Tourism, I will give you background on how we met.
In 2011, Mark Allan approached me with project ideas that I chose not to be involved in. I had previously blogged twice for him but there was no need to write the content for his websites or find others to do the writing for him, as I had my own, more successful websites. I even tried to be nice about it by offering to rebuild a smart website for him – he turned me down, saying that I never understood the internet.
Deeper than that was that he’d tried to get me involved in selling advertising for restaurants with the bulk of the money, illogically, going to Find It Knysna, the business directory. I already had my own plans but was willing to consider joining forces (if a better plan appeared) until I discovered that he was in the process of buying, or had already, bought Find It Knysna. As he’d failed to share that critical information with me, and duplicitously intended most of the money going to himself, i decided to not work with him but not make it an issue as he lived in my road and wanted good relations with my neighbours.
I’ve thought hard on what made this man’s attitude do such an about-turn and believe that the pivotal moment in our history, where our relationship turned sour, was a conversation we had in Fichat Street. I suggested he focus on one goal to which he responded with disproportionate anger, yelling that his family had told him the same and that we were all wrong. It was a bizarre situation to experience, totally out of context, and his cyberstalking began soon after.
Mark Allan started with objectionable comments on one of my websites, Knysna Keep. As he lived in my road, and I considered him a neighbour, I met with him in an attempt to understand and sort but he continued, resulting in him being the first person to be banned from further commenting on said website.
Mark Allan, under the name ‘Admin’, with his real identity mentioned nowhere on the website, then resorted to blogging negative remarks about me at Outreach.co.za which was registered to his wife but listed him as the technical contact. It should be noted that the websites and domain name registrations I discovered (over 30) are listed the same way. This includes the website for his business, Find It SA. The defendant’s wife is a Thai cook. The internet business is practised as Mark Allan’s and claimed by him to be his.
It should be noted that Outreach.co.za claims to be a community blog and excessively uses SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) words such as “empowerment”, “social responsibility”, “community development”, “political opportunism”, “corruption”, “Knysna” etc. YET THE FOCUS OF THE SITE IS ATTACKING ME. The defamation is emphasised by this keyword SEO and Mark Allan blatantly inserting me with into those terms for the negative association. Keywords are SEO tags used to denote topics for search engines.
On Outreach.co.za, the defendant makes numerous negative remarks about me. This can be read in full in Annexures A, J1, J2, J18, J19, J20, J21, J22, J23, J24, J25 but lowlights include (all typos and spelling mistakes are Mark Allan’s):
1. “He claims to Love Knysna. But one has to question the sincerity of this statement since everything he touches on is negative.”
2. “Everyone with whom he comes into contact with, who doesn’t snap out the answers he wants to hear on the turn, is tarred and feathered as a liar, corrupt and incompetent.”
3. “He has nothing to offer other than a stream of irrational and vitriolic criticism along with his rather sugary love of Knysna and his patronising concern for the masses on the other side of the colour divide.”
4. “Wicked Mike is as guilty, if not more so, than the DA Council officials whom he seeks to vilify.”
5. “The truth of the matter is that Knysna Tourism pulled the plug on a workshop project he was running because it was not sustainable.”
6. “A manipulator of facts who is adept at twisting circumstances to suit.”
7. “He is also a hungry sort with his eye firmly fixed on the public purse.”
8. “All that the present ANC dominated Government has been able to achieve over the last decade or two is to foster a culture of dependency and entitlement. And Wicked Mike slips comfortably into this cesspit of moral bankruptcy keeping an anxious eye on the trough of plenty. Double speak is his weapon of choice and he has mastered the art of smoke and mirrors.”
9. “He counts the Justice and Equality Fund as a client. They pay him to run their web site and to promote the argument that it makes far more sense to challenge the DA administration in Plett (and the rest of the Province) in the courts of law than it does on the ground and in the streets where the ANC just keeps losing ground. And precisely where do you think they get their money from? From the general public? Not a damn my man. They are not saying and there is an odds on chance you are taking dirty money my friend. So don’t start chirping about democratic principles, equality, justice, transparency and the freedom of speech. It’s a lie, you know it and you are part of it.”
10. “You are not the white messiah you seem to think you are. You are irrelevant and the only reason you are tolerated and accommodated is because you are being used.”
11. “You are arrogant, naive and have absolutely nothing to offer. Instead of working so hard merely to make a prick of yourself why don’t you try making yourself useful.”
12. “He is no different to those he criticises. And what gets up my nose is that he doesn’t have any of the answers either. Nothing other than a mean, malignant mean spirit with ill intent. The other side of the coin. The dishonesty, the irony, the wasted time.”
13. “What they [Knysna Municipality/Knysna Tourism] do not want to understand is that Wicked Mike is no different to the schoolyard bully.”
14. “Nicci [then head of PR for Knysna Tourism] as discussed, you guys and the municipality in particular, cannot afford to ignore Wicked Mike. He is all over Google…If you let me have two or three people who are interested in learning how to become trainers that train the next set of trainers. We could easily drown out the rantings of what is merely a wicked troll, pushing him off the page and into cyber oblivion.”
15. “Moral Impropriety” (Mike PS: title of blog about me on October 28, 2011)
16. “I subsequently comissioned him to write a couple of articles to see if we could build a working relationship. But that soon ran into attitude and I backed off.”
17. “He managed to get his claws into Shaun van Eck at Knysna Tourism. He was organising and running workshops intended to equip participants to run and organise events. A project which was dumped at short notice apparantly because it was unsustainable. And this is where Wicked Mike lost it…He turned on his mentor and friend [Shaun van Eck] overnight, snapping and snarling all the way to the Western Cape’s Premier’s office.”
18. “I tried to get him to look at an alternative way to do things. A concept and idea that I have been working on for the last eight years. We agreed once again to set up a site for Knysna Copywriters but surprise, surprise he has once again decide that its in his personal interests to go it alone and repackage what are essentially my ideas, as his own. He has submitted a proposal to the local Knysna Municipality seeking funding for Junior Journalism training programme…I consider his behaviour to be underhand, deceitful and given the fact that he has grievously insulted everyone in local government who has crossed his path, most inappropriate.”
19. “Wicked Mike is just another self centred and greedy parasite, intent on getting his snout into the trough and his sticky fingers into the public purse.”
20. “I nearly bumped into Wicked Mike, my arch nemesis, as he was padding down Gray. But he studiously managed to steer his way past what was a difficult moment by assuming the foetal position and adopting a no see, no do, no hear attitude.”
21. I made the statement: “I’m unable to comprehend how the masses of poor (so far) can look down, from their nearby hills, at the thousands of large houses and cars without succumbing to debilitating depression or overwhelming anger?” Mark Allan chooses the radical interpretation of, “This man is dishonest. His anger has nothing to do with the plight of the masses. He is merely using them. Using their desperation to hide his lack of ability, his abuse of the skills he has and his belief that he is somehow entitled to share in the bounty and opportunities offered by the public purse.”
22. “And my advice to him is to get off his backside, make him self useful and once he has proved that he has what it takes to change the course of things, then and only then does he earn the right to start telling others what they should do and think. Either lead by example or put a cork in it.”
23. “If we can get enough sponsors to grow a big enough pool of content there are two things we might achieve. The first is to catch the eye of the large professional Internet Marketing companies and two much needed exposure as a town where businesses work together to promote not only their own interests but the fynbos, forests, rock pools and sea horses. Hope it makes sense. This is how I suggest we drown out the noise made by malcontents like Wicked Mike.”
24. “The CEO of Knysna Tourism has been suspended by the Board pending a disciplinary hearing…And now, its the vultures that are gathering. One in particular whom I am familiar with. An opportunist and fair weather friend of the worst sort who goes by the name of Wicked Mike. This is a man who threw a tantrum when Shaun van Eck took his sugar bowl away. He was offering “courses” at a cost to the ratepayers which had little or no real discernable value. He didn’t understand this and all hell broke loose.”
25. “In desperation he turned to the DA soon after they assumed responsibility for the Knysna Municipality. And it didn’t take long for him to turn on them and join the ranks of the malcontents whose sole purpose in life appears to be to frustrate service delivery in the Western Cape. This to discredit the DA for doing what nobody else has been able to do, which is to govern.”
26. “A man who has mastered the art of double speak, a useless person with a lot to say and nothing constructive to offer.”
27. “An activist my foot! A scab with his eye firmly set on the public purse.”
28. “One of Shaun’s [ex-CEO of Knysna Tourism] most delibitating weaknesses was that he was an easy touch, that he placed far too much faith in bottom feeders. And what is ironic is that Wicked Mike only turned nasty after Shaun van Eck stopped the hand outs being made to fund a financially unsustainable project which he was running. Has he forgotten this? Or does he to have no shame?”
29. “Similarly I do not like Wicked Mike, I do not like his dishonesty and moral bankruptcy.”
30. Refers to me as “Dr. Doofenschhmirtz” (and links my name to one of my blogs). Doofenschhmirtz is an evil, idiotic cartoon character from a TV show.
31. “Clinically unsound.”
32. “Irritating troublesome troll who is as ineffective as he is powerless.”
33. “You would like to be recognised as a charity worker and activist? But it is not going to happen. You like the rest of them are driven by your own self-interest. Your lust for recognition and authority.”
34. “You don’t seem to care who you hurt in your relentless pursuit for recognition.”
35. “You are drunk with power and it must stop.”
36. “You however are out of control. You are a cyber-bully and it must stop.”
37. “It’s all a lie. He is in fact Negative Mike and always has been.”
38. “And everything that has been said and done ever since is part of a carefully choreographed script to confuse, confound and deceive…”
39. “You did not resign from the KRA. You were elbowed out. And it is always going to be the same whether it’s Olde’s or the Long Barn you are gracing with your unwanted presence.”
40. “I just wish that Wicked Mike would give up and acknowledge he is the back stabber…”
41. “After all the finger pointing I think it is time you publicly declare who is funding you. Are you being paid by Hardy Mills? Is all this drivel you are scattering throughout the search results part of an orchestrated disinformation campaign?” [ANC innuendo]
42. “I suspect you are about to get whacked hard and it is about time.”
43. “A village idiot that no one will speak to.”
44. “JEF? It is so sad that in these times of hardship that there are people who believe that the end justifies the means…So why does he keep hammering away, flogging the same issues week after week? Who is paying him? Is he being paid? Is he working for the JEF?” [ANC innuendo again]
45. “Your callous disregard for who and what gets damaged in your relentless pursuit of recognition.”
46. “I still despise you as one of the weak, infirm and malignant spirits that feed off the energy of others.”
47. “There are lines I am uncomfortable crossing. Women and children and dare I say it families are one of them. The weak and vulnerable are another. You are in there with the worst of them twisting and stabbing and trashing.”
48. “How can you flip flop from being an organiser and fund raiser for the DA one day and a vitriolic accuser the next?” [Mike PS – I have never worked for the DA or any political party]
On the forum at GardenRoute.com, numerous negative remarks are made by 3 fake identities (Zeelie, Odd & Talktown). The irony is that all 3 seem to be Mark Allan, the defendant. You can determine this by clicking on their name which will provide a signature with a website name. 2 of the website names are false/misleading but when clicked took me to websites owned by the defendant.
Then, at the very least, the defendant was associated with them, had chosen not to reveal Conrad Zeelie’s identity and kept the website live. In Annexure D, Talktown admits knowing Conrad Zeelie – www.knysnaplettherald.com/news.aspx?id=42744.
Zeelie – http://edensclassifieds.co.za (see Annexures D, H5, H6)
Odd – ‘Against All Odds – eNews Channel Africa eNCA’ www.outreach.co.za (see Anexures H1, H2)
Talktown – Boat Builders in South Africa – http://theindustrialarea.com/2012/03/boat-builders-in-south-africa (see Annexures H3, H4)
A whois search determines that the defendant’s wife is the owner of the registration and that he is the technical contact. As stated previously, it is, in fact, his business (see Annexures I1-3):
At http://forum.gardenroute.com/showthread.php?2594-Workshop-Web, Odd admits setting up Eden Classifieds (see Annexure E): “We have set up Edens Classifieds using WordPress.” Eden Classifieds is used as the signature by Zeelie.
At http://forum.gardenroute.com/showthread.php?2628-Use-or-Abuse&p=14453#post14453 Odd, who is Mark, calls Zeelie by the name ‘Conrad’ i.e he uses the full name even though that is not provided at GardenRoute.com i.e. he is him or he knows him.
The forum thread http://forum.gardenroute.com/showthread.php?2617-Knysna-Tourism-CEO-to-face-criminal-charges&p=14434#post14434 was taken seriously by Knysna Tourism who made a statement (very rare action) that they were not involved with the plaintiff (see Annexure B).
GardenRoute.com threads can be read in full in Annexure B. Defamation lowlights include:
1. Zeelie – “A bitter and twisted soul.”
2. Odd – “Avoid him, ignore him. He is a good example, of what goes bad.”
3. Odd – “…the damage is being done by a garrulous and opportunistic blogger with personal scores to settle.”
4. Zeelie – “Two years ago Shaun postponed a project he was running, which Tourism was funding and he went ballistic. He is vindictive and is revelling in the fact that Shaun has been fired. This is wrong and should not be allowed to pass without challenge.“
5. Zeelie – “After getting fired by Shaun van Eck two years ago Wicked Mike has relentlessly pursued the person he perceives to be prime evil. What he is doing is wrong. He is using the net to bully and vilify a man who has worked hard for Knysna and the Garden Route.”
6. Zeelie – “That you [referring to the the plaintiff] are privy to privileged information that says there is fraud and corruption involved?”
7. Zeelie – “Wicked Mike has exceeded the bounds of decency.”
8. Talktown – “I doubt many take Wicked Mike seriously. He is an opportunist and he has a personal agenda. That much is obvious.”
9. Odd: “He is driven by self image and carries a huge chip on his shoulder. He is very good at criticising others achievements but lacks the confidence and ability to do anything himself.”
On Knysna-Plett Herald’s Website
Highlights at www.knysnaplettherald.com/news.aspx?id=42744 (see Annexure C for full text):
1. conradzeelie: “Shaun van Eck is being victimised and treated unfairly. Two years ago he terminated a project that was being funded by Tourism and run by a garrulous blogger who then went ballistic. And who has been hounding him relentlessly ever since. That blogger now works for Greg Vogt…For one reason or another Greg Vogt does not understand that this is a serious conflict of interests and that it compromises the integrity of the Knysna Tourism Board. They must clarify their position in this regard. Are there grounds for criminal charges or is this just another bullying tactic? If there is no justification for these claims both the Board and Greg Vogt have a responsibility to come out publically to refute the statements and to censure the individual [the plaintiff] concerned. ”
2. conradzeelie: “Wicked Mike has responded to my comment with a vitriolic attack on this paper [referring to the plaintiff’s article on Knysna-Plett Herald at www.knysnakeep.org] He has also accused me of posting lies about him and his association with the Tourism Board. This is not correct. What I said was that he works for Greg Vogt, a fact which was confirmed by Greg Vogt himself. What have I lied about? He goes on to accuse me of also posting numerous lies about him on Gardenroute.com. I was asking questions, questions he doesn’t like. I also demanded that the Tourism Board confirm whether there are grounds to press criminal charges against Shaun and if not to publically censure Wicked Mike for mischievous rumour mongering.”
3. Again, Knysna Tourism was prompted to respond and mention the plaintiff [see Annexure D]
4. conradzeelie: “It is interesting to note that Wicked Mike has removed the featured post calling for the Knysna Tourism Board to press for criminal charges to be laid against Shaun. This, I suspect, is as close as we are ever going to get to an admission that there is a questionable relationship between him and the Chairman of the Tourism Board. But that relationship exists. There is no denying it. It won’t ever go away.”
5. conradzeelie: “Why can we not resolve this matter without lowering ourselves to the level of the gutter politics where people like Wicked Mike wallow?”
6. talktown: “But he now wants to sue me for statements I did not make. This despite the fact there are plenty I did actually make and where it is quite possible that I might have overdone it a bit. And if I have, I apologise sincerely, will edit, retract, withdraw and hell no I won’t grovel as instructed. I think he will just have to settle for an insincere apology on a publication he has a problem with. This all started on www.outreach.co.za/blog/2011/10/knysna-keep and he does not want to let it go that easily.”
Defamation is his first tactic. In Part 4, i’ll show his second tactic which is disinformation, distortion and outright lies.