Where did those files go
By Gary Wamsley
On Monday, February 7, I received a call that the Recorder Online was not working. This alarmed me, as I didn’t recall any of the links being broken. I proceeded to open an Internet browser window and entered the URL of the website: www.berthoudrecorder.com. I was alarmed to receive a “You do not have permission” as a result.
I immediately used the hosting features of my hosting company, Go Daddy, to see what happened to the front page. Much to my alarm, all the files on the website were gone. The files were there on the backup of February 5, but were gone on the backup of February 6.
I proceeded to contact Go Daddy support and speak with a technician. I explained that the files were missing and I asked how this would have happened. He informed me that the logs did not show anyone logging into the hosting site directly using the manager account. He said he had no further information. I asked if someone might have accessed the site using File Transfer Protocol (FTP). He said he did not have that information available and suggested that he could put in a service request for an FTP log as that was the only way that information was available. I asked for the log and was told that once the log was generated, I would be notified. He then assisted me in restoring the site from the latest backup.
On Tuesday I received an email that the file was available in my hosting account under the name of berthoudrecorder.com.txt. I downloaded the log and it showed that on February 6, 2011 that someone logged into the server using “stargazer” FTP account from Internet (IP) address 126.96.36.199. Here are a few lines of the file.
When I did a reverse lookup on the address, I found that it was issued to a Front Range Internet, Inc. (frii) customer. I contacted Front Range and asked if they could tell me who was using the IP address. The technician said that they take their customer’s security very seriously and that frii would not provide that information.
Were I to file a police report, the authorities could get a court order for that information. What would come back is that the IP address belongs to Meinte Veldhuis. Would that mean that he deleted the files on my website. Certainly not.
In fact, I was the one who deleted the files on my website and simply used a word processor to change the IP address to his and changed the username to stargazer. How do I know Meinte Veldhuis’s IP address? He sent me an email on Friday and the IP address is always included in the email information.
It was just such a file that Veldhuis and other members of the Main Street board accepted from John Bauer as evidence that a volunteer, make that former volunteer, had deleted the files of the Main Street website. They took the step of filing a criminal complaint against this person who most certainly did not delete the files. They took this step without having the courtesy of calling the accused to see if there was another side to the story. They apparently also believed John Bauer’s fairy tale about a motive, an entirely concocted story with absolutely no proof.
It is most troubling when a group of “esteemed” citizens is so willing to believe bad things about good people. To believe bad things about people who have no record of doing harm, who in fact have a record of doing good.
When I first learned of this case I was skeptical of the charges. I obtained copies of all the documentation filed with the police, including a CD with a copy of the log file Bauer submitted to the police. It was immediately evident that Bauer had modified this file, the central piece of evidence. This evidence lacks credibility.
A detailed reading of Bauer’s witness statement uncovers many deceptive and misleading statements. His witness statement too lacks credibility.
It seemed that the best way to research his accusations was to replicate what Bauer had alleged happened. The Recorder Online is hosted at the same company as the Main Street site; the process should be the same. I deleted the Recorder Online files and went through the process as described by Bauer.
What the process showed was that Bauer often did not tell the truth in his witness statement. That, along with the obviously modified “evidence,” indicates that the accused in this case was really the victim and had nothing to do with deleting the Main Street web files.
The explanation of the results of the investigation is lengthy and therefore will be presented in segments. The next discussion will give the case background and will dissect the ftp log file that Bauer submitted to the police. Following that will be an examination of his witness statement (note that the language used in the first several paragraphs of this article follows the language of Bauer’s statement in order to demonstrate his “coloring” of the narrative). Part four will look at a history of Bauers’ interaction with the Berthoud Police Department and other matters that may surface.
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