Mercurius’ Rules from Larvatus Prodeo

[voice over of Narrator from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Movie]  “Long ago and far away there existed a a fascinating blog originating in Australia named Larvatus Prodeo. And then it didn’t exist. And then it did. And now it doesn’t again.”don__t_panic_wallpaper_by_vantaj-d4fgo87

Actually it’s in archive state, which means it’s probably not staying active in trends etc. So I’ve resurrected a charming bit posted originally by Mercurius, called “The Rules”.

This bit of satire easily demonstrated the tactics in play at the time. The movie “An Inconvenient Truth” was still fresh in people’s minds, the Climategate affair was underway but not yet public. And a pivotal moment for global action to save civilization from itself was just a few months away. While we knew that some millions of dollars were flowing from the fossil fuel industry to professional disinformation campaigns, we still did not have evidence of the Exxon Mobil involvement, nor the amount of activity coming from the Koch brothers.

I’ve taken the liberty of adding some “pictorial” commentary. Thanks to Glen Welch and the Fallacy Ref page for the extra material. Can you Imagine a Fallacy Ref attempting to keep track and stop all the fallacies in this one little bit of prose? This of course was 2009, just as the Denial campaign was getting into full swing.

For your reading pleasure, here are:


 The rules


Hello world. It’s your friendly neighbourhood denialist here. Look, we need to talk. I think we got off on the wrong foot. You’ve got me all wrong. I’m really an open-minded guy. All I’m asking for is evidence of your AGW claims. Surely that’s not too much to ask?

And please note, that when I say evidence, I mean:

Ref - Continuum Fallacy1) Nothing that was recorded by instruments such as weather-stations, ocean buoys or satellite data. Since all instruments are subject to error, we cannot use them to measure climate.

Ref - Nirvana Fallacy2) Nothing that has been corrected to account for the error of recording instruments. Any corrected data is a fudge. You must use only the raw data, which is previously disqualified under rule #1. Got that? OK, moving along…

Ref - Goalpost move3) Nothing that was produced by a computer model. We all know that you can’t trust computer models, and they have a terrible track record in any industrial, architectural, engineering, astronomical or medical context.

Ref - Cherry PickingRef - Troll4) Nothing that was researched or published by a scientist. Such appeals to authority are invalid. We all know that scientists are just writing these papers to keep their grant money.

Ref - Proof ReversalSee? I’m a reasonable guy. I’m perfectly open to being convinced by real evidence — you know, the kind that doesn’t rely on scientific instruments, or corrected data, or computers, or results recorded by other scientists. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and I’m sure you’d agree that any evidence which meets my criteria would be extraordinary indeed.

Ref - False EquivalencyAnd before you accuse me of hypocrisy, I apply all these rules to myself. For example, I have perfectly good evidence that the ETS will destroy the economy. I haven’t relied on any measurements, or projections, or the advice of economists in making this prediction. Therefore my evidence for this prediction of economic doom is water-tight. (On a related note, how can you predict the climate next decade when you can’t predict the weather next week? And did you know I can predict economic doom from the ETS next year, even though I can’t predict the stock market tomorrow?)

Before I go, here are some corollaries that devolve from the above 4 rules:

Ref - Argument from FallacyA) Any previous errors in climate science are automatic proof that new data is also wrong. For example, if you produce results which show a reduction in ice coverage, or a warming of ocean temperatures, all I have to do is shout ‘Hockey Stick!’ and the new data is instantly dispelled.

Ref - Goalpost moveRef - Nirvana FallacyB) So, before I will accept your new data, it must retrospectively correct any errors in past data, and erase them from the space-time continuum as though they never occurred. Furthermore, if you do manage to perform this feat, your data will be invalid because corrected data is disqualified under rule #2.Ref - Spotlight Fallacy

Ref - Ad HomC) Al Gore is a big fat hypocrite and a liar and a fraud who jets around the world and has a big house and eats puppies for breakfast. And will you please stop the ad hominem attacks on Ian Plimer?

D) Will somebody, please, somewhere, anywhere, address the science in Ian Plimer’s book? I mean, surely that’s not too much to ask? Ref - YogiismRef - Argument from SilenceBy the way, anybody who addresses the science in Ian Plimer’s book is just a nit-picker who hasn’t addressed the main issue.

E) Please, spare me your conspiracy theories. It’s not my fault that AGW is a giant hoax perpetrated by Big Green to take over the world in a socialist plot.Ref - echo chamberI’m just trying to uncover the truRef - Bandwagonth here, with the assistance of a lot of commentators, media personalities, corporate executives and hired scientists who just happen to share similar political views to my own.

Ref - TrollF) Your position is based on religious faith, not on the science. I can tell because you pay attention to Ref - False AttributionRef - Non-Central Fallacythe scientific instruments, the corrected data, the computer models and the writings of published scientists, instead of what I know, deep in my heart to be the truth: that AGW is a giant hoax and a fraud.

Ref - Ergo DecedoConfusedG) If you ever refuse to debate with me, that is proof that your position is untenable, you’re frightened of the truth and you don’t have the evidence. Ref - Neutral Zone

Ref - ClickbaitRef - Red HerringAnd, by the way, when will Burt Newton respond publicly to the claims that he’s a trans-gender vampire who was regenerated in a vat from a single hair of Vlad the Impaler? His silence on this issue is telling…

—-

ConfusedRef - SpreadingRef - Slippery SlopeRef - Out of ContextRef - Occams RazorRef - False EquivalencyRef - False DichotomyI’m so glad we could have this chat. I’m sure if we can just conduct this discussion using the rules and corollaries above, it will be an enlightening and fruitful enterprise that is well worth the time and effort of everybody involved.

Ref - RepetitionI look forward to having this debate, at every opportunity, on every forum, on every website, from now until the end of time.Confused

I give upYours truly,

The Marquess of Queensbury

Who Founded Greenpeace? Not Patrick Moore.

Once again the crowd over in climate contrarian land has promoted someone who makes inflated claims about his past to bolster his public profile.

Lord “Crazy Pants” Monckton is a shining example for all future resume padders out there. Yes indeed, he was a minor hereditary “Lord”, with no real affiliation with UK governance or policy, but he still claims to be a member of the House of Lords, in spite of cease and desist orders published by that august body.

Now we have Patrick Moore trying to claim that he “co-founded” Greenpeace. The fact is that he’s been playing the long con to earn his bread and board for nearly 20 years. Have a look:

Climate Denial Crock of the Week

Greg Laden’s Blog:

Patrick Moore is a Hippie for Hire. He makes the claim that he co-founded Greenpeace, and charges a fee to show up at conferences or other venues, or sit on boards, to provide a story that anti-environmentalists, global warming deniers, and others, like to hear. The part where he takes your money to lie, as far as I can tell, is true. The part about how he co-founded Greenpeace is apparently not true.

Here’s what Greenpeace has to say about Patrick Moore:

Patrick Moore, a paid spokesman for the nuclear industry, the logging industry, and genetic engineering industry, frequently cites a long-ago affiliation with Greenpeace to gain legitimacy in the media. Media outlets often either state or imply that Mr. Moore still represents Greenpeace, or fail to mention that he is a paid lobbyist and not an independent source…

For more than 20 years, Mr. Moore…

View original post 576 more words

Top Gear’s electric car shows pour petrol over the BBC’s standards | George Monbiot | Environment | guardian.co.uk

Being the pain I usually am, I’ve provided some “emphasis” for some of the text. George has stopped shortof making some comments that he’s almost GOT to be thinking, so I’mgoing to provide a few in the stream of the article. You’ll know itwhen you see it.

 

🙂

George Monbiot blog banner

Top Gear’s electric car shows pour petrol over the BBC’s standards

Why is Top Gear apparently exempt from the BBC’s editorialguidelines and the duty not to fake the facts?

• Teslasues Top Gear over ‘faked’ electric car race
• TheNissan Leaf electric car – review

 

Jeremy Clarkson test drives the Tesla electric car

Jeremy (Lying sack of banthapoodoo) Clarkson sabotagesa test drive of the Leaf electric car
Photograph: BBC

 

What distinguishes the BBC from the rest of thiscountry’s media? There’s the lack of advertising, and the lack of aproprietor with specific business interests to defend. But perhaps themost important factor is its editorialguidelines, which are supposed to ensure that the corporationachieves “the highest standards of due accuracy and impartiality andstrive[s] to avoid knowingly and materially misleading our audiences.”

Here’s a few of the things they say:

Trust is the foundation of the BBC: we areindependent, impartialand honest.”

“We will be rigorous in establishing the truth of the story andwell informed when explaining it. Our specialist expertise willbring authority and analysis to the complexworld in which we live.”

“We will be open inacknowledging mistakes when they are made andencourage a culture of willingness tolearn from them.”

Woe betide the producer or presenter who breaches these guidelines.Unless, that is, they work for Top Gear. If so, theyare permitted to drive a coach and horses – or a Hummer H3 – throughthem whenever they please.

Take, for example, Top Gear’s line on electric cars. Casting asideany pretence of impartiality or rigour, it has set out to show thatelectric cars are useless. If the facts don’t fit, it bends them untilthey do.

It’s currently being sued by electric car maker Tesla afterclaiming, among other allegations, that the Roadster’s true range isonly 55 miles per charge (rather than 211), and that it unexpectedlyran out of charge. Tesla says“the breakdowns were staged and the statements are untrue”. But the BBCkeeps syndicating the episode to other networks. So much for”acknowledging mistakes when they are made”.

Now it’s been caught red-handed faking another trial, in this caseof the Nissan LEAF.

Last Sunday, an episode of Top Gear showed Jeremy (we’reonly entertainment so our recommendations are as full of exrement as Iam) Clarkson and James (time for me to drink myway across the UK)May setting off for Cleethorpes in Lincolnshire, 60 miles away.The car “unexpectedly” ran out of charge when they got toLincoln, and had to bepushed. They concluded that “electric cars are not the future”.

 

But it’s clearfrom Clarkson’s Lists that he will whore out his reputation just to geta self serving edge with whomever he fancies at the moment.Here’s a recent and from what I can tell, fairly accurate review ofClarkson’s abilities found out on the “Ultimate Car” forum:

People enjoy Clarkson’s hard opinions and dry senseof humour. However, they seem to forget that he knows nothing about howcars handle, nor has after 20 years of drivingsupercars has any skills behind the wheel. A good example is when heput the current ZR1 against an Audi R8 and constantly said that the ZR1was impossible to drive faster than the R8. Then in the hands of thestig it blitzed the R8.
I also remember him slagging off the Carrera GT calling it bland anduninteresting, reviewing it against the Enzo Ferrari.

and

AND Clarkson’s comments are aboutgetting readers/viewers attention and to sell his column, mag, book,video, tv show.

and

This guy has driven every major badassultimately exotic supercar on this planet andhe puts a Mazda CX7 on his top 25? Nothing against the CX7, is a nice SUVor crossover,or whatever, I drove it myself when I was checking them out a fewmonths ago while considering one for my wife, but come on… JeremyClarkson’s top 25?

In short, JeremyClarkson seems to emerge as the combined Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaughof the automotive entertainment industry. He’s full of unsupportabletheories and doesn’t hesitate to lie or dissemble to raise his ratingsor further his agenda. So long as you don’t actually believe anything he or his show have to say then you’ve lost nothing. If you start believing in his fairytales, you’ll soon be lost in their fabricated world.

 

But it wasn’t unexpected: Nissan has a monitoring device in the carwhich transmits information on the state of the battery. This showsthat, while the company delivered the car to Top Gear fully charged,the programme-makers ran the battery down before Clarkson and May setoff, until only 40% of the charge was left. Moreover, they must haveknown this, as the electronic display tells the driver how many miles’worth of electricity they have, and the sat-nav tells them if theydon’t have enough charge to reach their destination. In this case ittold them – before they set out on their 60-mile journey – that theyhad 30 miles’ worth of electricity. But, asBen Webster of the Times reported earlier this week, “at no pointwere viewers told that the battery had been more than half empty at thestart of the trip.”

It gets worse. As Webster points out, in order to stage a breakdownin Lincoln, “it appeared that the Leaf was driven in loops for morethan 10 miles in Lincoln until the battery was flat.”

When Jeremy (lying used car salesman) Clarkson was challenged aboutthis, he admitted that heknew the car had only a small charge before he set out. But, hesaid:”That’s how TV works”. Not on the BBC it isn’t, or not unless yourprogramme is called Top Gear.

Top Gear’s response, by its executive producer AndyWilman, is a masterpiece of distraction and obfuscation. He insiststhat the programme wasn’t testing the range claims of the vehicles, andnor did it state that the vehicles wouldn’t achieve their claimedrange. But the point is that it creates the strong impression that thecar ran out of juice unexpectedly, leaving the presenters stranded inLincoln, a city with no public charging points.

Yes, this is an entertainment programme, yes it’s larking about, andsometimes it’s very funny. But none of this exempts it from the BBC’sguidelines and the duty not to fake the facts.

The issue is made all the more potent by the fact that Top Gear hasa political agenda. It’s a mouthpiece for an extreme form oflibertarianism and individualism. It derides attempts to protect theenvironment, and promotes the kind of driving that threatens otherpeople’s peace and other people’s lives. It often creates theimpression that the rules and restraints which seek to protect us fromeach other are there to be broken.

This is dangerous territory. Boy racers, in many parts of thecountryside, are among the greatest hazards to local people’s lives.Where I live, in rural mid-Wales, the roads are treated as race tracks.Many of the young lads who use them compete to see who can clock up thefastest speeds on a given stretch. The consequences are terrible: aseries of hideous crashes involving young men and women driving toofast, which kill other people or maim them for life. In the latesthorror, just down the road from where I live, a young man bumpedanother car through a fence and into a reservoir. Four of the fivepassengers drowned.

Of course I’m not blaming only Top Gear for this, but it plays amajor role in creating a comfort zone within which edgy driving isconsidered acceptable, even admirable. Top Gear’s political agenda alsopersists in stark contradiction to BBC rules on impartiality.

So how does it get away with it? It’s simple. It makes the BBC afortune. Both the 15th and 16th series of Top Gear were among the top five TV programmes soldinternationally by BBC Worldwide over the last financial year. Anothersection of the editorial guidelines tells us that “our audiences shouldbe confident that our decisions are not influenced by outsideinterests, political or commercial pressures”. But in this case wecan’t be. I suggest that it is purely because of commercial pressuresthat Top Gear is allowed to rig the evidence, fake its trials, pourpetrol over the BBC’s standards and put a match to them. The moneydrives all before it.

monbiot.com

Posted by Friday 5 August 2011 15.42 BST guardian.co.uk

 

COP15 Copenhagen diary The Tesla roadster, an all-electric sports car, drives near Town Hall Square

Teslasues Top Gear over ‘faked’ electric car race

Car-maker to sue BBC for libel and malicious falsehood as fakedrace continues to be shown uncorrected on repeats and DVD

Liz McClelland provided this info, I had to agree

Unfortunately I couldn’t get Facebook to cooperate so I decided to move this over to Posterous and point it back to her page.

Salary of retired US Presidents ………….$180,000 FOR LIFE
Salary of House/Senate …………………..$174,00​0 FOR LIFE
Salary of Speaker of the House …………$223,500 FOR LIFE
Salary of Majority/Minority Leaders …… $193,400 FOR LIFE
Average Salary of a teacher ……………. $40,065
Average Salary of Soldier DEPLOYED IN AFGHANISTAN $38,000
I think we found where the cuts should be made! If you agree… RE-POST

ClimateGate: Addressing the ‘not a hacker’ meme – Michael Roston – Newsbroke – True/Slant

Is it or isn’t it?

Time for the CRU crew to come out with it! Is it a crime or was it a whistle blower? Everyone is waffling around about it, and frankly the uncertainty is causing more problems than either admission would.

Image by p373 via Flickr

Since I published my article Friday about the concerted effort of climate change deniers to cover up the criminal origins of the leaked ‘ClimateGate’ e-mails and files, I’ve received quite a few comments that have taken the argument a step further, stating outright that it wasn’t a hacker, but an East Anglia insider who leaked the files as some sort of whistleblower.

This rebuttal has even been picked up by Chris Horner of the climate change-denying Competitive Enterprise Institute in an op-ed for the Washington Examiner, showing that beyond covering up the criminal act of hacking that resulted in the release of the Climate Research Unit’s files, ‘ClimateGate’ warriors are now taking to mainstream media outlets to fight back against the idea that an act of crime is the source of their evidentiary bounty.

Of course, climate change deniers have a clear interest in portraying their source as Woodward and Bernstein’s ‘Deep Throat’ rather than Richard Nixon’s Plumbers. If their treasure trove of e-mails and files comes from a criminal action, and perhaps a criminal conspiracy, it casts a heavy, looming shadow over their efforts to pillory the climatologists implicated. More than anything, it will suggest that the climate change deniers are so desperate to make their case that they had to rely on a possible criminal conspiracy in order to prompt a thorough-going investigation of the science behind the theory of anthropogenic climate change. And that’s not how they want to be remembered.

Before I discuss the theorizing that it wasn’t a hacker, let’s first look at the evidence that it was a crime that led to the e-mails being leaked online.

First, the University of East Anglia has stated that they were hacked. In a statement published on the university’s website, Trevor Davies, the universities ‘pro-vice-chancellor for research,’ and a climatologist himself, discussed the computer security failure that resulted in the e-mails getting out:

Given the degree to which we collaborate with other organisations around the world, there is also an understandable interest in the computer security systems we have in place in CRU and UEA. Although we were confident that our systems were appropriate, experience has shown that determined and skilled people, who are prepared to engage in criminal activity, can sometimes hack into apparently secure systems. Highly-protected government organisations around the world have also learned this to their cost.

via CRU climate data already ‘over 95%’ available (28 November) – University of East Anglia (UEA).

True, not a blunt statement that “we were hacked.” But if East Anglia didn’t want it known they were hacked, they would not have mentioned it at all in their statement on the subject as subsequent proof that the release of the file came from a whistleblower would put them back on the defensive.

Furthermore, shortly after the file was widely publicized, UEA released the following statement:

A spokesman for the University of East Anglia said: ‘We are aware that information from a server used for research information in one area of the university has been made available on public websites.

‘Because of the volume of this information we cannot currently confirm that all of this material is genuine.

‘This information has been obtained and published without our permission and we took immediate action to remove the server in question from operation.

‘We are undertaking a thorough internal investigation and we have involved the police in this inquiry.’

If a crime did not occur, East Anglia would not involve the British police. And if they hadn’t identified the work of a cyber criminal, rather than some pissed-off insider, they wouldn’t be speaking of a specific server where the files and e-mails were hosted.

Beyond the Climate Research Unit and the University of East Anglia’s statements, there is Senator Jim Inhofe who has been bellowing for an investigation of the ClimateGate files (an investigation I support, subject to some previously stated conditions). In spite of Senator Inhofe’s earlier sly praise for the timing of the hackers who stole the East Anglia files, he released the following statement about his proposed investigation:

I certainly don’t condone the manner in which these emails were released; however, now that they are in the public domain, lawmakers have an obligation to determine the extent to which the so-called ‘consensus’ of global warming, formed with billions of taxpayer dollars, was contrived in the biased minds of the world’s leading climate scientists.

It would seem even Senator Inhofe is ready to acknowledge that there’s something unseemly about the way the CRU files came to light. If there was any possibility that East Anglia leak was the work of a disconsolate whistleblower, Senator Inhofe would not be hedging his bets. Instead he would be calling for the protection of the rights of a whistleblower he believes revealed a fraud.

Moving on, a variety of bloggers have implied that there is reason to believe that someone other than a hacker was involved in securing and leaking the files.

Take Terry Hurlbut, one of the hordes of ‘citizen journalists’ in the Examiner.com network. Hurlbut offers speculation that the behavior involved in releasing the files is not the work of a hacker:

The anonymous tipster, whom many people initially assumed had “hacked” into the computers at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia (repeatedly called the “Hadley CRU,” by mistake), might in fact be a CRU insider who released the files for his own reasons.

The user, known only as “FOIA” (which now appears to be a reference to the British equivalent of the US Freedom of Information Act), left only one comment on The Air Vent to announce his release of his 61-MB ZIP archive. He has never been heard from since, nor has anyone stepped forward claiming to be that person since the story became widely known.

Persons knowledgeable in information security hold that this is not the behavior of a hacker. A hacker normally boasts of his act, even if he were hired or otherwise suborned to commit his act by someone else. These two reports provide illustrations of such behavior.

[…]

In all that time, the original poster of the Russian FTP link never made another comment in any forum. As discussed above, this is not typical of a hacker. A hacker would be boasting about his act, and loudly. Instead, his file sat in that anonymous FTP account for more than forty-eight hours, and the poster never made any further attempt to publicize his find. Hence the conclusion, by this Examiner and a host of other commenters, including IP security professionals, that this unknown user was one who had had access to CRU computers, in accordance with his duties at the CRU.

The attempted claim here is that the hacker hasn’t boasted about the job, and all hackers boast, so he or she does not exist. Of course, there is a clear difference here between the cases Hurlbut cites – the teenager who hacked Sarah Palin’s private e-mail account for fun, and Russian hackers who make a living off of credit card fraud – and cyber criminals who are acting like Richard Nixon’s ‘Plumbers.’ If you’re a Plumber, your client has an expectation of your discretion, so I wouldn’t be shocked if the hacker in question kept his or her mouth shut. Hurlbut is otherwise referring to ‘IP security professionals,’ but he doesn’t cite any who have commented on the East Anglia files in particular. If they are ‘IP security professionals’ who already deny the existence of global climate change, their professional opinion is certainly colored by their political viewpoint, which is of course why we need an independent investigation of this affair.

Beyond Hurlbut’s ‘no boast, no hack’ theory, he and others have suggested that the file was too well organized to have been put together by a hacker:

Other commenters have observed that the very form and organization of the archive, which expands to 168 MB of text files, word-processing documents, PDF files, raw data, and even program code, indicate that someone already having access to the system logged in through his usual channels, made the archive, and then logged out. The user’s choice of words indicate someone having a motive to disclose to the world certain activities and mindsets that the user found distasteful, at least.

Kevin Grandia, not a climate change denier, offered a similar perspective:

The folder of information contains over 3,800 separate files and it is clear that someone has taken a lot of time to pull together what they thought would be the most damaging. This is not the work of a hacker, unless that hacker is extremely well-versed in climate science, and specifically the conspiracy theories of the climate denial movement.

This package of stolen data and emails would have taken hundreds of hours to compile and someone out there knows exactly how all this went down.

What both of these statements fail to take into account is the possibility that the data and e-mails could have been hacked by one person, and sorted and compiled by another or others who knew his or her way around the debate. It’s also kind of funny that as a digital mob gets together to crowdsource their way through these files, they can’t imagine that some enterprising cabal working in concert with a hacker wouldn’t already have done the same thing.

Honestly, I don’t know, and I’m not afraid to say so. After all, if Hurlbut is relying on the word of ‘IP security professionals,’ can’t they examine the file and state unequivocally that the files were all pieced together in a manner consistent with their theory? As long as we’re in the world of speculation, it’s worth pointing out that there are credible alternative explanations to why the ‘FOI2009.zip’ file looked the way it did.

There is one last remaining theory, offered up at ‘Watts Up With That’, another blog that denies the existence of anthropogenic climate change. ‘Charles the moderator’ argues that it was neither a hacker, nor a whistleblower who released the file. Rather, someone mistakenly posted to an open server an attempt to comply with a known Freedom of Information claim filed by the Climate Audit blog:

It would take a hacker massive amounts of work to parse through decades of emails and files but stealing or acquiring a single file is a distinct possibility and does not require massive conspiracy.  The same constraints of time and effort would apply to any internal whistle blower.  However, an ongoing process of internally collating this information for an FOI response is entirely consistent with what we find in the file.

In the past I have worked at organizations where the computer network grew organically in a disorganized fashion over time.  Security policies often fail as users take advantage of shortcuts to simplify their day to day activities. One of these shortcuts is to share files using an FTP server.  Casual shortcuts in these instances may lead to gaping security holes.  This is not necessarily  intentional, but a  consequence of human nature to take a shortcut here and there. This casual internal sharing can also lead to unintentional sharing of files with the rest of the Internet as noted in the Phil Jones, CRU mole, example above.  Often the FTP server for an organization may also be the organization’s external web server as the two functions are often combined on the same CPU or hardware box.  When this occurs, if the organization does not lock down their network thoroughly, the security breaches which could happen by accident are far more likely to occur.

While it’s rather substantial leap to believe that the file had been aggregated just so by East Anglia staff so they could quickly distribute a variety of self-incriminating e-mails on the world, I won’t dismiss outright that there could have been an FOI file. But, if Charles is right, and there was a hole in CRU’s information security protocols, I don’t understand why this makes it any less of a malignant act. If someone was sitting on CRU’s servers waiting for an opportunity to strike, they sound a lot like a hacker to me, even if the law wouldn’t ultimately find them to be criminals. And knowing, as we do, that someone was sending BBC reporter Paul Hudson privileged e-mails in October makes it sound like someone was inside CRU’s servers prior to the November denial of the FOI appeal.

But the theory offered up by Charles of Watts Up With That isn’t one that’s being endorsed by the climate change denial movement. They’re stuck on the idea that some brave East Anglia Deep Throat just couldn’t take it anymore, and blew the whistle. They need that, because some anonymous soul snooping on some climatologists’ servers just doesn’t sound very good.

And it’s worth keeping in mind that if UEA is housing a whistleblower, that person has a legal framework in Britain that protects them for revealing fraud, the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998. More than that, much as Daniel Ellsberg first went to Members of Congress with the Pentagon Papers, or Sgt. Joe Darby went to the Army’s Criminal Investigative Division in order to blow the whistle on abuses of detainees at Abu Ghraib, a theoretical UEA whistleblower could have gone to university officials, Conservative MPs in England, or even to someone like Senator Jim Inhofe in the United States. Instead we know that someone anonymously seeded a file with lots of e-mails and files on the websites of both climate change believers, and climate change deniers those who debate the scientific consensus on climate change. We also know that a BBC reporter had received some of the e-mails in question in October, and hadn’t done anything with them. It sounds like someone was on a fishing expedition, and finally found a shallow pool – the Air Vent – in which to drop their bait.

I’m ready to admit that I was wrong if evidence comes out to the contrary. You will see a blog post in this space if it turns out that way. But for the moment, it’s difficult to question that some people who have a lot to gain from denying the science of anthropogenic climate change also have a lot to gain from seeing their efforts buoyed by a whistleblower rather than a hacker. And it’s a little suspicious how many of them are getting sensitive about the leak being called a hack, and not an act of conscience.

Time for the CRU crew to come out with it! Is it a crime or was it a whistle blower? Everyone is waffling around about it, and frankly the uncertainty is causing more problems than either admission would.