Monday, March 19, 2012

McKnight (updated)

Well, there's a name we haven't heard yet. The team of Maher and MacGregor have hit a new one.
A key employee of the company that was used to send out the misdirecting robocalls in Guelph on election day appears not to exist under the name he uses online.

RackNine, the Edmonton company that suspect "Pierre Poutine" used to send voters to the wrong polling locations, is operated by Edmonton businessman Matt Meier, with the help of Rick McKnight, who is identified variously as head of marketing and web developer.

But Postmedia News and the Ottawa Citizen are unable to find anyone who knows McKnight, even though he has a healthy online identity, including 551 Facebook friends, many of them prominent.

Meier and his lawyer declined Monday to clear up the case of the mysterious McKnight.
Until recently, McKnight was listed as web developer on the LinkedIn business website, the only other North American employee with a listing under RackNine. His entry says that he studied computer science at Stanford University, and that he was born on Jan. 1, although it doesn't list the year.
Of course it gets better. (My emphasis)
Meier, who is said to be helping Elections Canada with their investigation and has repeatedly said he had no knowledge of the "Poutine" robocalls, has declined to comment on McKnight's identity.

In an interview, when asked how a reporter could get in touch with McKnight, he said "you don't," and hung up.
Goodness me! That can get you a senate appointment.

Now, if you haven't been reading The Gazeteer, you are now.

Here's another one for you. (I'm going to get into some shit for this).

Once, in a place not so far away, I had more than one identity. Completely approved by the government that approved it. I was not 007. I was just some yob that needed to be hidden from public view. That was before the internet.

And it worked.

So much for Matt Meier's squeaky clean Oh-Double-Nothin' in the morning discovery of "Pierre".

Update: Go to comments and read what Beijing York has unearthed. 


Beijing York said...

The name may have been scrubbed at RackNine but Rick McKnight is for real and a web geek:

He and Matt Gelinas of Alberta Blue Strategies are following each other:

Richard Dur, owner of Alberta Blue Strategies – also owns 17 other domain names: is host IP for 55 domains:


Political strategists, campaign managers and candidates continually need to have their pulse on the electorate. Just as small mistakes can quickly become large blunders, non-intuitive nuggets can become key weapons. Abingdon will help you identify your winning coalition and help you fully understand their motivations and perspectives. We’ll help you understand which issues you should be using offensively and defensively. It’s not enough to simply review top line numbers; that’s like watching the scoreboard. We break down, analyze and study the game for you.
Cluster and Coalition Grouping – we will help you build the winning cluster and coalition based on our primary research as well as other voting trends and demographic data. You will understand why these clusters are voting for you or your opponent. We specialize in building psychographic profiles of the electorate to understand how opinions are held and how they impact your coalition.
Issue Identification – More than simply highlighting an issue, we help you understand why this issue is resonating with your voters and help you decide what you should be doing about it.
Tracking – Continuous tracking polls help you identify trends and make necessary course corrections.
What-if Scenarios – Don’t make big moves before testing them. Too many politicians are now former politicians because they failed to properly anticipate public support for big decisions.

We have experience advising the Prime Minister of Canada, Premiers, Leaders of the Opposition, Mayors and dozens of MPs, MLAs and candidates. We have advised political parties on four continents. Our Chief Research Officer served as the official pollster for the Conservative Party of Canada in their successful re-election in the 2008 Federal Election. We specialize in voter profiles and psychographic analysis. We know what questions to ask, but more importantly, we know how to analyze the results to help our clients win.

So the owner of Alberta Blue Strategies also owns the domain for two of Hamish Marshall’s current jobs, Chief Research Officer for Abingdon Research and President and CEO of Go Newclear Productions:

Linked profiles include Mark Spiro (Crestview Strategy) and Patrick Muttart (now with Mercury Public Affairs, USA, previously Harper’s deputy chief of staff, past position with Navigator Inc. that seems to have served as an incubator for many of these operatives). Also linked to a David Cameron hack specializing in digital online campaigning and com strategy.

Unknown said...

" Rick Mcknight 41 yrs, racknine, from Edmonton AB

Internet Web Developer Technology "

NP says McKnight's birthday is January 1st. I just found out that he claims to be 41 years old.

Also , Rack Nine claims that McKnight joined the team on his birthday 01-01-10.

"RackNine added Rick McKnight as Lead Developer. (1/1/10) "

I find it non-plausible that dozens of Conservative MP's and top party brass accepted McKnight as a Facebook friend without knowing who he was. Cabinet ministers accepting random friends , I highly doubt that.

Keep digging folks.

RossK said...

So...Is the real issue not the actual identity, but the potential connection to just-under-the-surface Con-Turf Groups?


Holly Stick said...

I'll repeat comments I posted at the Gazetteer:

Beijing York, check out @probative's twitter feed for the past couple of days:!/probative

She finds Rick McKnight is probably really R. Martinez or Rafael Martinez Miguesa. Do those names show up in your links? The tweeters are talking about McKnight's linkedin page being altered etc.:!/probative/status/182188906173837313

Also a photo Racknine used of a bunch of servers was apparently not of its servers, but a stock photo?:!/BCLaraby/status/182193537859858432

1:29 PM, March 20, 2012

Holly Stick said...

I will add that it's not clear to me that there is a definitely proven connection between "Rick McKnight" and Alberta Blue Strategies, which has the connection to Abingdon Research, Hamish Marshall, etc. I don't think a linkedin link is enough, though people with more experience of that may differ.

However, if anyone should find a link to Abingdon Research etc., then you want to read these two posts with many more details of links amongst Conservatives:

Dave said...


Holly Stick said...

Oops, my mistake. Minuesa not Miguesa.

joe said...

Beijing York, Beaver: I commented on Alberta Blue Strategies earlier at SixthEstate, but hadn't made the Abingdon-Research / Hamish Marshall links.

FWIW, Matt Gelinas helped organize Anne Coulters visit to UofC, and worked on Ted Mortons campaign (links at the comment there)

Keep digging!

Rafael Minuesa said...

Hi all,

Thank you for all the attention and links:

Here's a couple more you may have missed:
* Rafael Minuesa's Blog
* Rafael Minuesa @ Linkedin

And yes, I confess to the horrendous crime of using a pseudonym for handling social media accounts while working for RackNine.

Wait a minute,
Beijing York, Holly Stick, RossK, Unknown ...?
Hummm ...

Brandon Laraby said...

Hey Rafael, thanks for answering these questions yourself.

I have a question:

If you're Rick McKnight, why'd you delete your entire LinkedIN account from existence just as Racknine was getting the heat turned up on it? Google shows the last available Cache of your profile as February 29th at 06:55:41 GMT

or 23:55:41 MST on February 28th.

The same day that the story broke uncovering the 'burner' cellphone and linking 'Pierre Poutine' back to Racknine?


That certainly seems odd.

I mean, at the very least, there's a lot of very important information on that profile -- you'd think you'd want that to be kept available for any future employers.

Just sayin'.

Boris said...

Hi Raphael, thanks for posting here. This helps. I might suggest that using a pseudonym to blog is considerably different from creating an entirely new online identity. Your "Rick McKnight" FB account has you living in Edmonton like a local, but this appears to be complete fiction when compared to your other websites which lists you as an expat freelancer living in sunny places around Oceania and Asia.

Dave said...

Hi Raphael,

I echo Boris' comment. Nobody putting words here is doing it for any form of monetary gain. I would submit that when I deal with a client on a remuneration basis they have to know who I really am for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the legal connection.

By the way, I did have a look at your other sites yesterday. Interesting work.

You will appreciate that the state of things here, given the corrupting of the election process, has made everyone highly suspicious. If you're the slightest bit shadowy, (and that's what you looked like), you're going to get some serious scrutiny.

Question: Is RackNine established in the Phillipines beyond you being connected with them?

Rafael Minuesa said...

Hi there,

I haven't deleted any accounts. I turned them all private and moderated because we were getting many insults, threats, etc., not only us, but people connected to us.
I'm pretty sure many of them will be taken down town though, after all the publicity, but rest assured I'm not going to bother to do it myself.

I have posted what comes below on several places today, and I hope I've made sufficiently clear.
If I haven't, I'm sorry that I can't explain it any better.

I have made dozens more accounts with different names, one for each of my clients. Why?

1- It is very convenient and helps me group all logins and passwords under an account different from my own

2- If I stop working for that particular client, it is very easy to just handle over that account, rather than having to meddle with my own personal profile

3- EVERYBODY who is working on social media marketing and has more than a few clients is doing exactly the same thing

4- I wasn't really aware that helping out to set up Twitter for the Conservative Party of Canada was akin to supporting a terrorist organization. I was told they were actually the Government of Canada.

One more thing, I am a web developer, I work on the Internet and I have made literally hundreds of websites since I first made the first one on 1999, you can check the links I posted above if you really want to find out who I am and what I do. Making phone calls of any kind is outside my experience, specially in English which isn't my mother tongue.

I'm also a very very busy person, absolutely swamped these days, this is the last I needed, so please understand that it may take me a while to reply.

Thank you



Rafael Minuesa

Boris said...

Hi Raphael,

I think you're getting close to a mark when you write:

4- I wasn't really aware that helping out to set up Twitter for the Conservative Party of Canada was akin to supporting a terrorist organization. I was told they were actually the Government of Canada

As I think you're finding out, working for the Conservative Party of Canada is not the same as working for the Government of Canada, especially during an election. We've had some difficulty with this here, including the Prime Minister renaming the government after himself in government communications ('Harper Government'), but I digress. If you were working for the actual Govt of Canada, you would have been hired through very different channels. (One of course assumes that Racknine was not actually paid through public purses and not CPoC accounts.)

Further, to reiterate Dave's point, there are serious irregularities emerging regarding Conservative Party actions during the last two elections. Your names and identities have come up in the process of examining these problems. It isn't terrorism but words like 'election fraud' are on the public mind and there is a serious investigation underway by the authorities. It might be just me, but these are probably not people you want to be associated with.

You have my sincere sympathies if in fact you're indeed a hapless web developer who happens to find himself caught up in this mess.

Again, thanks for visiting us and addressing these concerns.

Rafael Minuesa said...


I don't know much about politics in Canada, neither I care. All I know is that the people I helped setting up their Twitter accounts were open and honest, something that unfortunately cannot be said of the opposition who went as far as threatening several business owners for having electoral signs on their property. I was aghast.

Same thing about RackNine. Honest people who have never let me down or failed to maintain their commitments, a rarity in today's world. A rarity in Europe, America, Asia and I suspect Africa as well.

So yes, this is precisely the kind of people I want to be associated with. Nobody at RackNine is under probe, and what's more, they are all helping out with the investigation in any way possible. The CEO recently traced an IP address and submitted all his findings to Elections Canada. We need to wait now.

The people I don't want to have anything to do with are those who insult, threaten, spread lies and libel for the only reason that you don't happen to be on their side. They have attacked everyone related to the company. They even posted the address of somebody in Edmonton because he / she has the same last name as me, Martinez. Did they apologize after for getting that unknown person in trouble? No, they just went on, couldn't care less. And then they have the nerve to say that they fight for freedom and democracy. What a joke.

And trust me, I am a very fortunate guy. I live in paradise, I have a wonderful family, selected friends, and a dream job that I actually like and that allows me the kind of freedom I could hardly achieve working anywhere else. And that's what I plan to keep doing, making websites and creating social media accounts under different names for my clients, call me a monster for all I care, but for sure you will never hear me insulting, threatening or propagating lies about people that don't think the way I do.

Anyway, I sincerely appreciate that you had at least the decency to hear me out, but I'm afraid I cannot dedicate any more time to this, bye now, take care.

Saskboy said...

Thank-you for explaining yourself, when your employer at RackNine told media investigating the most serious political corruption story in recent Canadian history, that they could not identify you.

If you are not a Canadian citizen or resident, there are also potential legal consequences for the "honest" party you did work for during the campaign. In our electronic age, doing online work for a party is a gray area, but there have been other cases in the country where non-residents did direct voter contact, which is being investigated by authorities.