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PNGSCAPE history and its owner Anthony Smare

June 19 2010 at 4:28 AM
Jeri  (no login)

 
Papua New Guinea discussion forum web site known as PNGScape, It’s History and Ownership

Here is a history of the PNGSCape site and its connection to other sites and to Mr Anthony Smare as I can write it, being that I was a witness to many of the events described here.

In the period around 1996-2000, Anthony Smare was a student at the Queensland Institute of Technology in Brisbane. Already he was known as an internet junkie and spent large amounts of time on the internet as his PNG colleagues witnessed. Often he worked on his assignments in the QUT library leaving the internet on in the background. During this time,Smare posted frequently on what was the main forum for Papua New Guineans. Known as the Wantoks Forum, it was started in 1996 by Taholo Kami and run partly by brother Steven Kami, both of whom grew up in PNG (missionary father) but originally were from Tonga. Taholo Kami at first was the moderator, with Steven Kami later coming in to help, especially when Taholo left his United Nations job in the USA and moved to Tonga. Steven Kami at that time was a Port Moresby based lawyer at Warner Shand.

In 1998 while at QUT, Anthony Smare was the principal initiator of an organization for PNG overseas students, mainly those in Australia. It was known as Kumul Scholars International (KSI) and has now essentially collapsed. In 2000, a dispute arose on Wantoks Forum over KSI funds and how they had been disbursed. Some attention focused on Nathan Wingti,the former PM’s son who had a position with KSI and whom Smare lavished praise on. Smare,who was in charge of KSI, refused to release a public accounting for these funds, saying that only the donors were entitled to see it. While technically Smare was correct, the incident became a public relations nightmare for the young leader as the controversy was brought up repeatedly on the Wantoks Forum, spun off an alternative web site and in general created an antagonistic opposition to Mr Smare.

By 2001 Mr Smare had graduated from QUT with a combined geology and law degree and was hired by Arthur Allens Robinson legal firm in Melbourne. He continued to be associated with KSI as its patron and maintained contacts through that association. Mr Smare prided himself as an exceptional future leader of PNG and had a loyal group of strong supporters who tried their best to deflect criticism of Smare on the internet and elsewhere. At the time there was frequent talk that Smare would someday be PM, and the similarity of Smare’s surname with that of PNG’s founding father was often noted.

Smare occasionally registered his disgust at personal attacks and a deterioration in the quality of discussions at Wantoks Forum, both in person and on internet postings. By 1999, Smare had created a small forum on PNG development issues (www.voy.com/1950/) utilising the free discussion site offers at Voy. This fit into the overall picture of Smare becoming a new young leader with a strong support base and internet presence. However,the criticism surrounding KSI, including the non-public release of its financial reports, had already begun to alter Smare’s presence on the internet. Although some postings were virtually certain to have originated by his hand, he no longer always put his name to those postings. Also Smare did not directly admit to having set up the forum at voy.com for example, although it was no secret to his friends.

In 2001 Mr Smare advertised on Wantoks forum asking for help to set up an internet site. By 2002, PNGScape was born, taking advantage of the free forum setup site at www.Network54.com. When PNGSCape appeared on the internet in much the same form as exists today, a number of postings began to appear on the Wantoks forum by anonymous sources, trying to direct people over to PNGScape. Wantoks Forum erased these postings soon after they were put up but the postings continued on and seemed to eventually wear down the Wantoks Forum admin. Smare’s PNGScape ultimately took away the great portion of the Wantoks Forum audience and Wantoks Forum folded by 2004. At the time some postings challenged the PNGScape advertisements or investigated them. Various pieces of evidence were offered that clearly connected the PNGScape promoters to the law office in Melbourne where Anthony Smare was employed. It was also clearly established that Smare used this IP in postings signed with his name. What was never conclusively established was whether the actual postings promoting PNGScape were from Smare’s hand or instead came from a colleague, workmate or wantok who was using the internet at that law office and obviously known to Mr Smare.

Unlike Wantoks Forum,which tried to sell PNG artifacts from the web site, there has never been evidence that PNGScape existed for any purpose of financial gain. What is the more likely motivator was to create a networking and education tool that could bring together concerned Papua New Guineans to discuss issues and socialize and which would add to an overall Smare movement for change in PNG. Unfortunately, Smare’s personal conservatism, possibly combined with his training as a lawyer, prepared him poorly to successfully face the political changes that any leader, formal and informal, must face. As a result, his actions tended to further antagonize opponents rather than bring them into his camp as a person with keen political skills would be able to do. Also,Smare chose to work within the government to bring about change at a time when increasing frustration around him was creating a movement of activists who demanded change from outside the system. Over time, Smare fell to the side of the movement that today is quickly expanding in PNG and involves both NGOs and a grassroots protest movement. Anthony Smare is conspicuous by his absence in the current protests against corruption.

Soon after PNGScape was launched, Smare’s voy.com site was abandoned and later taken over by large numbers of vanilla postings. The old voy forum was reborn as the PNGScape Kumul Development Forum, although Smare’s name was left out when describing the transfer.

At first, PNGScape may have been moderated by Smare himself but his time was increasingly occupied by his professional development. A mixed race Kerema-Aussie woman who lives in Tasmania appeared as one of the first moderators, under the pen name 7milebeach. The actual identity of this person has not been published on the internet, but she supposedly met Smare through PNG student get-togethers in Australia and may have lived in Melbourne at the time. She is a woman, supposedly in her 40’s working in some form of media, and married to an Australian policeman.

Another early moderator went by the pen name of sexxiicoolguy. This is Brian Tobias,who also studied in Australia but is now based at the University of PNG. For several years, however, 7milebeach carried out the lion’s share of moderation duties at PNGScape, occasionally complaining in postings that she had been abandoned by ‘Wantokz’ and was having to do everything herself. Even then, she referred to‘Wantokz’ with reverence, very much the way anonymous posters used to support mentions of Smare on Wantoks Forum This led to speculation that the God like figure Wantokz was actually Tony Smare.

Although it is now fairly clear that there is another high level person involved in PNGScape who could, in fact, be the worshipped Wantokz figure, it has never been in doubt that Anthony Smare was the initiator and owner of the forums. Whenever Smare was promoted or attained a new level in his career, an announcement always appeared on PNGScape, followed by several postings that strongly applauded Smare’s progress. In contrast, whenever any significant criticism appeared under those postings, the thread was either frozen or the criticism erased. Even today a poster on PNGScape must proceed carefully around the Smare name if they wish their posting to remain.

When the domains pngscape.net, pngscape.com and ailanscape.com were registered, Smare was already trying to assume a low profile on the internet, undoubtedly a result of the repeated attacks he received by anonymous posters. Not surprisingly he registered the two pngscape domains under a wantok in Moresby (Smare was still in Melbourne at the time), however he did originally register ailanscape.com in his name. In all cases, the same address was used in the registration of these domains: P.O. Box 1150, Port Moresby, NCD.

By the 2002 election, Smare was in Port Moresby working for the same law firm, but at the Moresby office. He later became a general manager for the Pogera Mine under Barrick Mining and following that, a director at Telikom. There was no indication that he was a common presence on PNGScape until late in October 2009 when a major posting attack by persons unhappy with PNGScape’s moderation developed. This incident will now be described as I happened to witness much of it.

The moderation at PNGScape has always been a source of occasional friction but over the past 2 or 3 years the unhappiness grew worse. The complaints separate into two camps, one group saying there was not enough moderation while the other side complains there was too much moderation. In part this response reflects the erratic nature of how postings have been moderated on PNGScape. Sometimes the site is excessively moderated while at other times PNGScape has been virtually abandoned. Also, the various “rules” for posting have been unevenly or haphazardly enforced. PNGScape states clearly that PNG laws are enforced,yet many tolerated postings on the Romance and Lovers forums at PNGScape would arguably violate standards of PNG culture, if not anti-pornography and obscenity laws. An added complication over the years is that the moderator 7milebeach occasionally promised or threatened actions that she seems to have had no intent or ability to pursue. These deceptions only seemed to further inflame some PNGSCape posters.

In late 2009, some longstanding problems came to a head. The increasing national attention focusing on corruption in PNG and greater overall activism on the internet bumped against a renewed clampdown on postings that did not fit PNGScape rules. It has always been unclear to what extent PNGScape practices true political censorship as opposed to the deletions of political postings having occurred for other reasons. The moderators inability or reluctance to transparently explain the reasons for erasing certain postings has always created more enemies than friends, true in this case as well.

From these tensions a cyber-upheaval of sorts developed in late 2009. This resulted in Brian Tobias being exposed as one of the moderators (essentially confirmed by one 7milebeach posting in response). Also, Anthony Smare was mentioned again as being the owner and main person in back of PNGScape. The main issue, however, appeared to be political censorship combined with the secrecy of PNGScape’s ownership. That a number of postings appeared during this period of 1-2 weeks on how to hide one’s identity from PNGScape (as well as get around any blocking of IPs) further suggests a mix of anger over perceptions of political censorship with fear of the identities of posters who put up sensitive allegations being discovered and published. When even those postings were quickly erased, this seemed to confirm the worst fears of some posters and a virtual cyberwar developed between unknown posters and the PNGScape moderators.

The end result was that PNGScape was shut down for several days,new moderators were recruited to police the site, and all forums were changed so that no posting could appear in public view until a moderator had approved it. These heavy handed rules were partially relaxed in early 2010, with the most popular forums now being moderated after posting, as was true before.

In general the PNG cyberspace has undergone a radical change over the past year or less. Many blogs have appeared and in general, information that would have been quickly purged from the internet is now finding ways to stay put and be spread. This fits the overall trend of renewed activism in PNG, particularly against corruption and a general anger towards the government of Sir Michael Somare. To some extent,PNGScape has accommodated this change. For example, in 2003-2004 a posting that proposed revolution or assassinations in PNG would not have been allowed to stay up, yet such postings had ceased to be unusual (and usually remained up for some time) by 2008-2009.

Starting in late 2009,however, PNGScape turned against the trends around them and increased its moderation and perhaps censorship. Moderators or owner of PNGScape has recently come out stating that postings which contain unsubstantiated allegations on public figures and do not have a name attached, will not be allowed on PNGScape. Obviously their concern is liability which is an unstated admission that neither PNGScape moderators nor its owner are truly unknown to the public. The more recent addition of a banner advertisement for a new website wantura.com strengthens the association of PNGScape with Anthony Smare since Smare is the registered owner of wantura.com and signs his name in several initial news postings at that new site.

Up to now, PNGScape has stopped challenges to its dominance as the main discussion forum site for Papua New Guineans by erasing postings that advertised alternative sites. The most memorable example is the late vortexpng.com. PNGScape founders obviously forget how they had their start, by bombarding Wantoks Forum with repeated postings to draw people onto their site. This PNGScape hypocrisy occurred again in June 2010 when the new site www.niuginicafe.com was advertised on PNGScape forums. Any mention of this new web site was soon erased. It is ironic that Anthony Smare always promoted a vision of Papua New Guineans supporting each other’s efforts. Seeing the hypocrisy of PNGScape preventing other Papua New Guineans from starting the same way they did was the event most responsible for why this history of PNGScape was written.

To summarise,Anthony Smare is the principal founder of PNGScape. He once was registered as the owner of some domains associated with PNGScape and he continues to be strongly associated with the web site. Until now he has taken advantage of fading memories and the fact that hardly any Papua New Guinean treats the internet as a serious part of their life, to keep this information hidden. Putting out into the open the connection between Anthony Smare and PNGScape will not hurt the PNGScape site because the owner already shows every sign of knowing he was compromised by early slips that link him to the site. It is also clear that in becoming a near monopoly, PNGScape now abuses that power by showing no interest in explaining their actions except when put under pressure. Probably even some of the moderators have little knowledge of the history of the web site they are volunteering for. In this absence of accountability,it becomes the responsibility of PNGScape’s audience to open the shades and bring in the sunlight at PNGScape.


Port Moresby
18 June 2010
Re: PNGScape, It’s History and Ownership MORE INFO 2010-06-19 01:39:38
Anthony Smare Business Interests On the Internet


Anthony Smare is associated with the address mentioned in the article on PNGScape history several times and with several organizations or business ventures. All this information was taken off the internet in June 2010:

1: Ezy Limited
2: Kairar Enterprises
3: Expedient PNG
4: Kumul Seminars
5: Wantura.com

The address in question and being connected to www.pngscape.net is:

P.O. Box 1150
Port Moresby NCD
121
Papua New Guinea


This information is being provided not to challenge or belittle Smare’s business accomplishments. The objective is simply to show that Anthony Smare has continued to be active on the internet up to the present.



1: EZY LIMITED

Ezy Limited
Diversified business entity in papua new guinea. Property development, agricultural exports, telecommunications and various trading interests. Intending to export products from png but also to import products to trade in png.
公司名称 Ezy Limited
联系人 Mr. Anthony Smare
联系地址 P. O. Box 1150, Port Moresby, Ncd, Papua New Guinea
邮编 121
电话 675—3216067
手机
传真 675—3216067
网站


Ezy Limited Contact Mr. Anthony Smare

Company Name:
Ezy Limited
Contact :
Mr. Anthony Smare
Street :
P. O. Box 1150
City :
Port Moresby
Province :
Ncd
Country :
Papua New Guinea
Zip :
121




2: KAIRAR ENTERPRISES


Kairar Enterprises Ltd.
A diversified PNG company with interests in many businesses.
Member Info »
Business Type: Trade
Number of Employees: 5 ~ 50
Business Scope: Agriculture & Food, Consumer Electronics, Electrical & Electronics, Transportation
Member Since: 2003
Last Sign In Date: 2003-06-18
Contact Details
Company Name: Kairar Enterprises Ltd.
Company Address: P.O.Box 1150, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
City/Town: Port Moresby
Province/State: NCD
Country/Region: Papua New Guinea
Zip/Postal Code: 121
Phone Number: Please sign in to view contact details

Fax Number:
Mobile:
Contact Person (Department): Mr. Anthony Kairar


Kairar Enterprises
Vanilla
Kairar Enterprises
Port Moresby NCD
Papua New Guinea


Contact : Anthony Smare
For Further Information,
ENTER YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS AND CLICK GO :



WWW.KAIRAR.COM

Visit AboutUs.org for more information about kairar.com
AboutUs: kairar.com

Registration Service Provided By: NameCheap.com
Contact: support@NameCheap.com

Domain name: kairar.com

Registrant Contact:
Kairar
Anthony Smare ()

Fax:
P.O.Box 1150
.
Port Moresby, NCD 121
PG

Administrative Contact:
Kairar
Anthony Smare (asmare@barrick.com)
+675.3216067
Fax: +675.3216067
P.O.Box 1150
.
Port Moresby, NCD 121
PG

Technical Contact:
Kairar
Anthony Smare (asmare@barrick.com)
+675.3216067
Fax: +675.3216067
P.O.Box 1150
.
Port Moresby, NCD 121
PG

Status: Locked

Name Servers:
dns1.registrar-servers.com
dns2.registrar-servers.com
dns3.registrar-servers.com

Creation date: 11 Nov 2009 02:02:55
Expiration date: 11 Nov 2010 02:02:55



3: EXPEDIENT PNG


Registration Service Provided By: NameCheap.com
Contact: support@NameCheap.com

Domain name: expedientpng.com

Registrant Contact:
Kairar
Anthony Smare ()

Fax:
P.O.Box 1150
.
Port Moresby, NCD 121
PG

Administrative Contact:
Kairar
Anthony Smare (anthonysmare@gmail.com)
+675.3216067
Fax: +675.3216067
P.O.Box 1150
.
Port Moresby, NCD 121
PG

Technical Contact:
Kairar
Anthony Smare (anthonysmare@gmail.com)
+675.3216067
Fax: +675.3216067
P.O.Box 1150
.
Port Moresby, NCD 121
PG

Status: Locked

Name Servers:
dns1.namecheaphosting.com
dns2.namecheaphosting.com

Creation date: 08 Apr 2010 12:29:00
Expiration date: 08 Apr 2011 07:29:00



4: KUMUL SEMINARS

See this following application form for Anthony Smare’s name associated with the address P,O. Box 1150, Port Moresby:

http://www.apngbc.org.au/kumul_seminars_survey.pdf



5: WANTURA.COM


WANTURA.COM - Whois Information

Registration Service Provided By: NameCheap.com
Contact: support@NameCheap.com

Domain name: wantura.com

Registrant Contact:
Wantura Media Limited
Anthony Smare ()

Fax:
P.O.Box 1150
.
Port Moresby, NCD 121
PG

Administrative Contact:
Wantura Media Limited
Anthony Smare (anthonysmare@gmail.com)
+675.3216067
Fax: +675.3216067
P.O.Box 1150
.
Port Moresby, NCD 121
PG

Technical Contact:
Wantura Media Limited
Anthony Smare (anthonysmare@gmail.com)
+675.3216067
Fax: +675.3216067
P.O.Box 1150
.
Port Moresby, NCD 121
PG

Status: Locked

Name Servers:
dns1.registrar-servers.com
dns2.registrar-servers.com
dns3.registrar-servers.com

Creation date: 28 Dec 2009 13:49:41
Expiration date: 28 Dec 2010 13:49:41
Re: Re: PNGScape, It’s History and Ownership LAS WAN 2010-06-19 01:56:56
Note that PNGScape admin up to now have not divulged any information about the connections between wantura.com and pngscape.net. They either dismiss any questions or suggest that it is simply a business relationship where wantura paid pngscape for the banner advertisement. This is not true. Anthony Smare is in back of both sites.


Go to Main Page of niuginicafe.com for more information



 
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