Watch Monckton squirm

On June 6, someone with IP address 81.77.248.148 added this passage to Christopher Monckton’s wikipedia page (emphasis mine):

Monckton has been published in academic journals on the subject of climate change and his principal calculations have been reviewed and found accurate by one of the IPCC’s expert reviewers. Monckton is currently studying higher mathematics at university level. The Guardian was compelled to publish a correction the day after one of its columnists had criticized Monckton’s climate-change analysis as scientifically inaccurate, and is reported to have paid Monckton £50,000 in damages.

A few hours later, someone with the same IP address complained:

“I am The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley. Please remove the article about me, pending action in the Court of Session for libel. I have made repeated attempts to prevent or correct these libels, but to no avail. The action will be filed in 14 days. If anyone from Wikipedia wishes to contact me to discuss resolution before the action is filed, I may be contacted at monckton@mail.com. If I am not contacted, the action will be lodged without further notice, and an application will be made for service outside the jurisdiction where necessary. It is likely to attract considerable publicity, and it will serve as a useful warning to those who come across it that Wikipedia is not a reliable source. I shall be applying for an order that all Wikipedia content that in any way references or identifies me should not be permitted to be broadcast on the Internet within the jurisdiction of the UK courts.

“I shall repeat what I have told Wikipedia before: the article about me, which is presumably supposed to be a straightforward biography, is repeatedly amended to make libellous comments, particularly in connection with a) my alleged views on the HIV virus; and b) my alleged views on climate change, both of which have been seriously misrepresented. Also, despite my repeated attempts to remove it, a link has been posted to a hostile article about me, but without posting any link to the correction which the newspaper in question was obliged to print the following day.

“I have done my best to get this matter resolved by other means, but without any success. Unless I hear from Wikipedia, it will become unlawful for Wikipedia to transmit any material in any way mentioning or identifying me into Scotland, and my US agents will apply for the judgment of the Court of Session to be enforced, with damages and costs, in whatever jurisdiction wikipedia uses. It is not acceptable that I, as the victim of a libel in my own biographical entry, should be prevented from editing or removing the libel, while Wikipedia can continue unmolested to blacken my name.”

The IP address 81.77.248.148, by the way, is from the same ISP that Monckton used in his emails to me.

George Monbiot, intrigued by the claim that his column had resulted in a £50,000 payment for damages, wrote to Monckton. He has posted the exchange, and just look at the way Monckton squirmed. Monckton would not specifically deny making the edit, but kept trying to evade the question, eventually pleading ill health and threatening yet another law suit.

Monckton seems to have a habit of making things up.

Comments

  1. #1 Hank Roberts
    October 3, 2007

    In the honorable spirit of equal-opportunity nitpicking:

    Is that number given a fixed IP address connected to only one physical location by something like a DSL phone line?

    Or is that an IP address from a block owned by an ISP that might be assigned to whoever dials up next?

    Monbiot writes “this claim originated from a message sent from your email address? Was someone else using your email?” — can someone knowledgeable about Wikipedia clarify? Does Wikipedia record an “email address” or does Wikipedia record an “IP Address” for sources of edits?

  2. #2 Hank Roberts
    October 3, 2007

    Checking, the IP is in a block at ripe.net but I can’t figure out whether their search tool will get any more specific.

    [This page also mentions Monckton and that IP address](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Biographies_of_living_persons/Noticeboard/Archive20)

  3. #3 Tim Lambert
    October 3, 2007

    I think that Monbiot was just referring to the email address Monckton gave in his complaint.

  4. #4 Blake Stacey
    October 3, 2007

    Wikipedia records the IP addresses of edits, so that edits made by people without registered user accounts can be tracked by IP. Here are all the edits made by Monckton’s IP address.

  5. #5 guthrie
    October 3, 2007

    Thats funny Blake, all those edits are on the Monckton page or the “eternity” puzzle page. To a neutral observer, that could suggest a certain vested interest……

  6. #6 Blake Stacey
    October 3, 2007

    It could, couldn’t it? Particularly when this edit changed the “Eternity puzzle” section of the OutRage! article from this:

    In 1999, OutRage! protested against the involvement of American toy company Ertl with conservative polititician Christopher Monckton, re-publishing comments he made in 1987 in The American Spectator [1]. Monckton had published a puzzle with Ertl called Eternity with a cash prize offered for its solution. OutRage! noted the usually liberal politics of Ertl clashed with their involvement with Monckton in a 1999 press release. Due to pressure from OutRage!, Ertl stated they would stop promotion of the puzzle with Monckton. However, there are plans for a second Eternity puzzle to be released in 2007.

    To this:

    In 1999, OutRage! protested against the involvement of American toy company Ertl with conservative polititician Christopher Monckton, re-publishing comments he made in 1987 in The American Spectator [1]. Monckton had published a puzzle with Ertl called Eternity with a cash prize offered for its solution. OutRage! noted the usually liberal politics of Ertl clashed with their involvement with Monckton in a 1999 press release. Due to pressure from OutRage!, Ertl stated they would stop promotion of the puzzle with Monckton, but did so before they had read Monckton’s article. Once they had seen how reasonable it was, they redoubled the vigour with which they promoted the puzzle, which went on to sell 500,000 copies worldwide before it was solved, and a second Eternity puzzle will be sold worldwide in 2007. Since it was written, 25 million people have died of HIV and related disorders, and 40 million are infected worldwide. Many – perhaps most – of these deaths could have been prevented had Monckton’s suggestion of treating AIDS just like any other fatal infection been adopted worldwide. In the US, HIV prevalence has reached 0.7%. Half the infections are in the homosexual population, who would accordingly be the first to benefit from control measures which, however harsh they may seem, would have saved – and could yet save – tens of millions of lives. OutRage would like to apologize for the manner in which its publicity-seeking campaigns have contributed to these tens of millions of needless, cruel and painful deaths, and is of course reconsidering its policy on HIV prevention.

    Mmm-hmm.

  7. #7 guthrie
    October 3, 2007

    That editing suggests several possibilities:
    1) Someone is pretending to be Monckton to have a laugh, by posting subtly over the top edits that would make everyone laugh at Monckton when they came to light.
    2) Someone is pretending to be Monckton and sucking up to him.
    3) Some random weirdo is doing random stuff without any pattern.
    4) Monckton is editing Wikipedia in a self aggrandising and frankly utterly bonkers sort of way.

    Now, further information required:
    COnfirmation that the IP adress and e-mail used to contact Monbiot are the same as those used to contact Tim Lambert.
    Also, someone with more knowledge of computer systems and how they assign IP addresses to say whether the IP in question is likely to come from Monckton directly or belongs to a block of IP’s or what? I am afraid I don’t know much about IP addresses but I do know (I think, corrections welcome) they can be changed, and also that some internet providers have entire blocks of them and therefore you can’t just claim one person is doing something going simply by IP, it might be many people from the same service provider.

  8. #8 Brain Hertz
    October 3, 2007

    Is that number given a fixed IP address connected to only one physical location by something like a DSL phone line?

    Or is that an IP address from a block owned by an ISP that might be assigned to whoever dials up next?

    Monbiot writes “this claim originated from a message sent from your email address? Was someone else using your email?” — can someone knowledgeable about Wikipedia clarify? Does Wikipedia record an “email address” or does Wikipedia record an “IP Address” for sources of edits?

    The IP address seems to be owned by an ISP in the UK, and appears to be currently associated with a consumer DSL account.

    Most likely, this IP address is in a pool with some block of IP addresses which are assigned dynamically to DSL users (you probably don’t have a pool of IP addresses shared between both DSL and dialup). However, with DSL the IP address is typically assigned long term and will likely be continually refreshed so as never to expire, unless the DSL modem itself is switched off for a long enough period that the address gets assigned to somebody else.

    I think this is what Monbiot is referring to as an “email address”.

    It’s also possible that many users behind a NAT/proxy are sharing the same IP address, but that isn’t particularly likely in the case of a consumer DSL account.

    There’s a little bit of plausible deniability wiggle room here, but not much. If the edits were close together in time, they’re almost certainly from the same person.

    Just my 2c, of course…

  9. #9 Sortition
    October 3, 2007

    > Monckton seems to have a habit of making things up.

    It appears not only a matter of habit, but a matter of policy: “I [Monckton] said, ‘No – I’m quite used to that’. History is full of stories that aren’t actually true.”

  10. #10 Hank Roberts
    October 3, 2007

    Well, he’s posted his email address:
    http://cgi3.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewUserPage&userid=bikerbikerbiker

    Monbiot perhaps is responsible for having created a smidgen of implausible deniability, by confusing email and IP address. And for thinking that someone had to be using Monckton’s “email address” to post under that IP number.

    Say what?

    Monbiot wrote “I am still puzzled as to how the claim I have mentioned was transmitted to Wikipedia from your email address.”

    That’s just wrong,

  11. #11 Graculus
    October 3, 2007

    A Q&D on the IP rather crudely locates to London (UK), no proxy in use, belongs to Energis.com. If it is PPPoE (most DSL) then the IP will be renewed if the modem is cycled. But Energis bills itself as a cable service, which generally have fixed IPs. NAT wouldn’t mean anything of significance, as it only indicates that there may be more than one computer sharing the IP at the same physical location.

  12. #12 Eli Rabett
    October 3, 2007

    Ms. Monckton in the parlor with the modem serving tea to Mary Rosh.

  13. #13 Not Gilbert Monckton 2nd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley
    October 3, 2007

    Good heavens, my man, this is a bit much, what?

    When We require “plebeian review” from the likes of you we shall order you to provide it but until then I suspect you should scruple to blight the good name of a Peer of the Realm with your tatterdemalion proletarian snipes and guttersnipe tirades.

    Science discoveries are made by people with Sir (Isaac) or Lord (Kelvin) in front of their names, not by out-at-the-elbows patent clerks in Switzerland or benighted Polack governesses wasting away in a garrett in Paris. That’s how it is, and how it shall always be.

    For shame!

    Not Gilbert Monckton 2nd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley

  14. #14 z
    October 4, 2007

    nice of him to make his email address monckton@mail.com public like that. sure wouldn’t want all the robots that scan the web for email addresses to sell to spammers to find monckton@mail.com.

  15. #15 Kristjan Wager
    October 7, 2007

    I wonder who 81.77.230.46 is – the edits could very well have been by Monckton, even down to claims about £50,000. If you make a simple whois search, the IP maps to an IP range in Amsterdam, but if you dig slightly deeper, it maps to Energis in the UK.

    Edits by 81.77.230.46

    I’ll go out on a limb, and claim that 81.77.230.46 and 81.77.248.148 is the one and same editor.

  16. #16 Kristjan Wager
    October 7, 2007

    In general, it can be said that any IP in the range 81.77.128.0 – 81.77.255.255 could be Monckton.

  17. #17 Joseph P. Jones
    October 11, 2007

    Energis UK has 81.77.0.0/16 and /17 so it could be anything in the 81.77.0.0 network. It appears they actually have more than that, in fact, it also shows them having 81.76.0.0/15

    So that’s around 130,000 addresses. The number’s going to be less than that, but you have to know how big a subnet is for a given group of customers to find out the real IP pool size. If it’s connected to the central office it’s different than if it’s a remote aggregator hanging off fiber… FWIW, the smallest subnet possible for that address is 81.77.248.0/31 81.77.248.128/31 or 126 people.