Fantastic news for a change - the Guardian reports that the UK police are finally making some concerted attempts to identify the hacker behind the criminal invasion of the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit.
On Wednesday, detectives from Norfolk Constabulary entered the home of Roger Tattersall, who writes a climate sceptic blog under the pseudonym TallBloke, and took away two laptops and a broadband router. A police spokeswoman confirmed on Thursday that Norfolk Constabulary had “executed a search warrant in West Yorkshire and seized computers”. She added: “No one was arrested. Investigations into the [UEA] data breach and publication [online of emails] continues. This is one line of enquiry in a Norfolk constabulary investigation which started in 2009.”
Tattersall posted on his own TallBloke's Talkshop blog that:
“I got the feeling something was on the go last night when WordPress [the internet host for his blog] forwarded a notice from the US Department of Justice.”
What excellent news to hear that the Justice Department is getting involved with this investigation, it's about time. Perhaps this came in response to the remarks by Rep Ed Markey (D-MA) last month?
Either way, it is reassuring to know that the investigation into the criminal hacking of climate scientists' emails is, in fact, ongoing. Last month, we reported about troubling indications that the UK police effort seemed inadequate given the tiny expense reports divulged after a Freedom of Information request by a UK journalist.
Steal More; Reveal Less
The Climagegate hackers appear to be at it again, spraying the internet with dozens of out-of-context quotes from a new batch of stolen emails - in a transparent attempt to disrupt the climate talks starting next week in Durban, South Africa.
The emails, from a source that denierblogger Tallbloke identifies as “Our old friend 'FOIA',” appeared with the same serendipitous timing - and in the same devious way - as last year's more-devastating tranche: accordig to the Guardian, they were “leaked” on a Russian server and then sprinkled into the denieresphere through the usual suspects: Wattsupwiththat, ClimateAudit, AirVent and the already mentioned Tallbloke. We can undoubtedly expect a fresh round of breathless “mainstream media” coverage from the Murdoch empire.
These emails are even more ridiculous than the batch released in 2009. First, the hackers didn't have the decency to release the emails in context - rather they just pulled the quotes they thought would be effective in casting doubt. Second, the thieves, who have had two whole years to sift through what appears to be the same source material have mined only 5,000 of more than 220,000 emails, implying that there may be more “dirt” buried in the remainder. This strains credulity: if there was anything in the remaining emails that was even vaguely incriminating, you can bet they would have found and released it. Third, the “best stuff” that they actually released is worse than trivial:
Update in BOLD below
New Scientist, a publication that is generally owed high regard, is apparently trying to weasel out of apologizing to NASA scientist Gavin Schmidt for an egregious misquote by the fallen science journalist Fred Pearce.
Pearce bungled the quote in his coverage of “post normal science” workshop in Lisbon, Portugal - really a denier fest dressed up as a reconciliation attempt. As Pearce reported in his original story, “The meeting was the brainchild of University of Oxford science philosopher Jerry Ravetz, an 81-year-old Greenpeace member who fears Al Gore may have done as much damage to environmentalism as Joseph Stalin did to socialism.”
If you haven’t already got a sense of the organizers’ bias, consider a guest list that includes “heroes of the sceptics such as statistician Steve McIntyre and economist Ross McKitrick, plus writers and bloggers such as Steve Mosher, the man who broke the Climategate story, and ‘heretical’ scientists such as Georgia Tech’s Judy Curry and Peter Webster.”