The Monckton Files: Threatwatch 1 by Barry Bickmore

Tue, 2014-08-19 19:00Guest
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The Monckton Files: Threatwatch 1 by Barry Bickmore

This is a guest post by Barry Bickmore, a long-time chronicler of the misdeeds and misdirections of Lord Christopher Monckton.

One of the truly amusing facets of being a Monckton-o-phile like myself is watching His Lordship veritably explode in a barrage of bombastic threats when he is cornered… or even when he’s passing random people on the street. For your amusement, and to keep the “Threatening Those Who Disagree With Him” section of Lord Monckton’s Rap Sheetcurrent, I give you the following recent examples.

A few weeks ago, I noted that Lord Monckton had even started threatening fellow climate contrarians, including solar physicist Leif Svaalgard and Willis Eschenbach. He claimed he was writing to Svaalgard’s university administration to get him in trouble for saying a certain part of Dr. David Evans’s wacky curve-fitted climate model was “almost fraudulent”.

For my part, I am referring Mr Svalgaard’s long list of malicious comments about Dr Evans (but not about me: I give as good as I get) to his university, which will know best how to handle the matter, for there is a rather delicate aspect that I am not at liberty to discuss here. The university will most certainly realize that the do-nothing option is not an option. The libel is too grave and too persistent. My lawyers are looking at it tomorrow to see whether malice is present, in which case the damages would triple, to say nothing of the costs. Their corresponding lawyers in the U.S. will be giving advice on whether Dr Evans would count in U.S. law as a “public figure”, Probably not, from what I know of the “public-figure” test, in which event, in order to enforce the judgement of the Australian courts in the U.S., it would not be necessary to prove malice (for, though malice seems evident, the test in Australian law is high).

Well, guess what? I asked Leif Svalgaard about it the other day, and he hasn’t heard a thing about it from his administration. Could it be that Monckton didn’t actually carry out his threat?

Ah, the memories. When I first encountered Monckton, he said he was instigating an academic misconduct investigation against me at my university, but a Salt Lake Tribunereporter followed up and found out that there was no such investigation. Much later, he did actually send a couple e-mails to my university threatening a libel suit and saying and saying I was mentally imbalanced, but the administration essentially ignored them.

During the unpleasantness between Monckton and Svalgaard, His Lordship objected strongly when Svalgaard linked Lord Monckton’s Rap SheetHis Veracity grated,

I note that another commenter here has accused me of fraud, and has cited a particular website much of whose contents I had not previously seen. My lawyers will be visiting me early next week to deal with some of the allegations on that website.

I thought maybe I would be getting another call from my department chair to inform me that Monckton had threatened me again, but what do you know? Weeks have passed, and I haven’t heard a thing! Perhaps his crack team of lawyers told him that I can’t be sued for simply chronicling his public exploits and expressing my amusement.

Meanwhile, trouble was brewing in the U.K., where Stoat blogger William Connolley was guessing that the source of a very misleading graph was an article in the Daily Telegraph written by His Lordship. One problem with the graph was that it compared two temperature history graphs from different IPCC reports, but the one from 2001 was for the entire globe, while the one supposedly from 1995 was for Central England, only. The first graph was actually based on one from the 1990 report, whereas in the text of the article Monckton said it was from 1995. The graphs were attributed to the IPCC, but did not have important features like error bars included in the Telegraph version.

Then Monckton showed up and started posturing.

Mr Connolley falsely accuses me of having fabricated a graph in whose selection, drafting and publication I played no part whatsoever. I should be grateful if he would remove all references to my having “faked” or fabricated this graph, and if he would kindly notify me when he has done so.

When Connolley pointed out that the graph had showed up in an article under his name, and asked who WAS responsible for it, Monckton resolutely refused to answer and dropped the “L” word (libel).

Mr Connolley now concedes he does not know whether I faked the figure. He made a serious, libellous allegation of dishonesty on my part without knowing whether the allegation was true.

I now invite him to retract his grave allegation of dishonesty on my part and to apologize for it.

After a bit of back-and-forth, Monckton made the implied threat more explicit.

If Mr Connolley will kindly give me his address for service, my lawyers will write to him. If he will not give me his name and address, they will serve an order on the ISP requiring it to provide the necessary details.

William told me a while ago that he hadn’t heard from Monckton’s lawyers, and I’m betting that’s still the case. William?  [UPDATE:  William says he's heard nothing.  See comments below.]

The funny thing about all this is that Monckton admitted his date of the 1990 figure was wrong, and that these were essentially the graphs he was referring to in the article. And as Kevin O’Neill pointed out, Monckton had given permission for another publication to reprint the article–graph and all–so he can hardly claim he didn’t approve of the graph. So why would he get bent out of shape at all if someone assumed he made the graphic for his own article?

The story of the Graph of Mystery doesn’t end there, however. On the same comment thread, Kevin O’Neill had pointed out that the Visionlearning website (which provides high quality science education resources) had used the same graph as an example in an article section entitled “Misuse of Scientific Images”, and pegged Monckton’s article as the source. Shortly thereafter, the commenters noticed that all reference to Monckton as the graph’s creator disappeared from the Visionlearning article, although they kept the graph as their example. (See the original on the Wayback Machine, and the present version here.) Some wondered whether Monckton had threatened the Visionlearning folks, too.  I confirmed through some backchannels that this was the case.

Last, but not least, a Scottish TV reporter interviewed His Veracity about some aspects of Scottish politics (he is the leader of the UKIP fringe party in Scotland), and found his grasp of Scottish political history to be a bit wanting. (That is, he made something up out of thin air regarding a rival politician.) But that’s not even the funny part. This is.

Viscount Monckton, who is president of UKIP in Scotland, said: “We have all had people from the SNP on the streets, saying ‘You sound English’ — in fact, I’m more Scottish than most Scots — but ‘You sound English, so go back to England’. Now, that is racism, it’s actually against the law. We’ve told one or two of the people who have said that to us, ‘Don’t do it again, or we’ll have you for it’.”

So some random Scots yell “Go back to England,” and Monckton threatens to have them jailed for racism! It’s just too fantastic for words.

UPDATE:  Within minutes of initially posting this, I found out that Monckton has threatened me once again on another comment board!  A commenter named Warren told Monckton:

You continue to make these misleading arguments in spite of your close following of Climate Science; it seems a piece with your repeated claims, publicly refuted by the House of Lords, that you are a member; or your earlier claims to have found a cure for AIDS and the common cold.

Monckton replied:

Finally “Warren” resorts to ad-hominem irrelevancies that are also inaccurate. He inaccurately accuses me of claiming I can cure AIDS and other diseases. I make no such claim, though I am engaged in research in this field. Likewise, “Warren” is no more expert on peerage law, for instance, than the ignorant and politicized Clerk of the Parliaments, one Beamish, who says I am not a member of the House. In the narrow sense imagined by the 1999 Act that took away most hereditary peers’ right to sit and vote, I am self-evidently not a member of the House, and I had made the fact of my ineligibility to sit or vote explicit in the answer to a radio interviewer that Beamish whined about without having bothered to take the elementary precaution, required in the interest of natural justice, of hearing my side of the case first. However, a legal Opinion that I obtained after that cringing, custard-faced Clerkling’s unlawful remarks makes it plain that “The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley is a member of the House of Lords, and he is fully entitled to say so.”

To which Warren replied:

You accused me of ‘ad hominem attack’. I posted your false claim about being a member of the House of Lords to let the readers know they shouldn’t trust your claims about AGW either — but that’s only the tip of the iceberg – readers should go here to see your full, incredible, rap sheet: Monckton:http://bbickmore.wordpress.com…How do you sleep at night?

Can you guess what came next?  Of course you can.  Monckton threatened me.  And then he COMMANDED Warren to “raise his game or be silent”.

Likewise, “Warren” refers readers to a more than averagely libelous instance of ad-hominem hate-speech that seems to have been posted up on the Web by a disgruntled person. Now that Warren has drawn my attention to that web page, I shall pass the matter on to my lawyers so that they can issue proceedings against the perpetrator.

Finally, “Warren” himself is guilty of libel by suggesting that I had made a “false” claim to be a member of the House of Lords. My legal advice was that what I had said in answer to a question from a journalist was at all points accurate, reasonable, and proportionate. “Warren” has no more knowledge of peerage law than he does of climate science, economics, or the methods of conducting a scientific discourse. In short, he is out of his depth and out of his league. He must raise his game or be silent.