As if this week’s Rupert Murdoch Phone-Hacking Scandal wasn’t enough, it now appears that the University of East Anglia CRU email hacking scandal (a.k.a. Climategate) might actually be the work of the same News Corp henchman who helped to feed insider information from a Scotland Yard police investigation directly to Murdoch’s News Corp.
Neil Wallis, one of the key figures in the hacking of the phones, voicemails and electronic communications of anywhere from 4,000 to over 12,000 people, was essentially a double agent working by day as Executive Director of News of the World, and simultaneously as a public relations consultant during the police investigation into the scandal. Wallis conveniently reported back to News Corp on Scotland Yard’s investigation.
While Murdoch’s henchmen were getting the skinny on the police investigation, the police were convincing other news organizations not to cover the story.
After the November 2009 hacking of the computer server at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia, the victimized climate science unit sought public relations guidance to help fight back against allegations of scientific misconduct.
[Update June 17th] Scholars & Rogues sparked a vigorous discussion about various tree-ring chronologies, and readers are encouraged to look through the discussions on S&R as well as McIntyre’s Climate Audit for all the juicy details. We also wish to note a correction made by Angliss regarding which graph was in discussion, but that point was not quoted by Desmogblog here.
Often McIntyre’s discussions are not commented on by climate scientists, because they aren’t worth replying to. RealClimate.org does when a response is warranted, but most claims and assertions go unchecked, becoming memes within a small subsection of passionate climate scpetics. Angliss has found numerous misrepresentations within McIntyre’s writing, calling him out on exactly the kind of thing he likes to accuse real climate scientists of.
Fred Pearce at The Guardian has produced a brilliant, 12-part series on the circumstances and implications of the email theft from the University of East Anglia.
The series tracks the whole story and is bluntly critical in its analysis and treatment of some of the now-embarrassed climate scientists who featured the emails. Pearce also looks gingerly at the likely suspects among those who may have been involved in the thefts and who, at the very least, were aggressive in disseminating the emails.
Most importantly, Pearce puts the whole sideshow into context, saying “Nothing uncovered in the emails destroys the argument that humans are warming the planet.” And later, “Humanity is still to blame. And we still, urgently, need to do something about it.”
Ben Santer, a climate researcher at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, has written a long, but very worthy letter, blasting the thieves who hacked into the East Anglia Univesity’s Climatic Research Unit and defending its erstwhile director, Dr. Phil Jones.
Santer, who has made a global reputation by “mining” historical climate data to advance scientific understanding, says that in the wake of the email thefts, a different kind of mining is currently underway - a form that isn’t interested in advancing science in the least.
“This form of mining seeks to find dirt - to skew true meaning, to distort, to misrepresent, to take out of context. It seeks to destroy the reputations of exceptional scientists - scientists like Professor Phil Jones.”
Democracy is utterly dependent upon an electorate that is accurately informed. In promoting climate change denial (and often denying their responsibility for doing so) industry has done more than endanger the environment. It has undermined democracy.
There is a vast difference between putting forth a point of view, honestly held, and intentionally sowing the seeds of confusion. Free speech does not include the right to deceive. Deception is not a point of view. And the right to disagree does not include a right to intentionally subvert the public awareness.