I’ve decided to update this blog entry (20 Dec 2011) because it occurs to me that certain things could be misinterpreted, in no small part because of the common language that separates us across various national borders, and differences in the way debate and concepts of free speech operate in different lands.
I want to make it clear that I do not think that the blogger “TallBloke” a.k.a. Roger Tattersall has broken British law. British authorities are obviously vigorously investigating what might be a criminal act, what might be an ethical violation, what might be a mere violation of protocol or what might someday be seen as a bold strike against tyrannic forces when all is said and done, persons unknown (to all of us). Tattersall himself has not, to my knowledge, been charged with anything, and the Guardian story (the report to which this blog post is, essentially, a pointer) does not seem to indicate that he is at this time charged.
The fact that we (Tattersall and I) are on very different sides of this issue should mean spirited debate. It should mean an open conversation about the issues. It should not mean undue accusations or harassment. In pursuit of that ideal, I am offering Mr. Tattersall to publish a blog post on this site (Greg Laden’s Blog) expressing his opinion on the matter, and he has agreed to to so, through his solicitor, instead of pursuing legal action that was previously suggested. I look forward to receiving the text for this post and, again in the spirit of open and public debate about these important issues, I will post it prominently and place it on the select feed for Scienceblog.com to give it maximum exposure.
Further Update (April 8 2013). On discovery that international and US law prohibits Tall Bloke from engaqing in what has become known as “Libel Tourism” … an apt description of the particular form of harassment he has applied to me … he and his “lawyer” have apparently gone quiet in relation to this issue, other than the occasional tweet on twitter by Tall Bloke claiming that he forced me to “retract” something.
Tall Bloke and his fellow climate science deiners are responsible for recent, current, and likely future death, destruction, and mayhem caused by anthropogenic climate change. They share responsibility for these things with other agencies because they have, unfortunately, been effective in slowing down a proper, scientifically informed response to climate change. Shame on them. History will judge them, and I suspect history will judge them as I’ve stated here. History will also reveal more of their motivations, including the ways they have been paid by big oil interests or by libertarian and conservative organizations such as the Heartland Institute.
When bullies see proper accusations of their own bad behavior on the horizon, the effective ones (effective at being bullies, that is) quickly make similar accusations against their victims or those who stand up for their victims. Thus, things like this. There may well be trials, of a sort (actual, social, political, whatever) but they won’t be of the scientists, they’ll be of the deniers.
Thieves who broke into Unviersity of East Anglia computers in 2009, stealing thousands of private emails thus compromising years of expensive scientific research and causing a fabricated and unnecessary political doo-doo storm, as part of a much larger campaign of harassment of climate scientists and science communicators, are being
pursued sought by the authorities, in part through the seizure of computer equipment that appears to be linked to the storage and dissemination of the stolen documents, owned by the blogger TallBloke and which has been seized under search warrant.
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.”
Also covered in the Washington Post.
This from Climate Progress:
It’s funny to see the hyperventilating at the denier websites. As you know, the deniers routinely assume any scientist being independently investigated is almost certainly guilty, that any scientist exonerated by an independent investigation is definitely guilty, and that thousands of actual evidence-based studies are part of a grand conspiracy to deceive humanity.
whinged stated on his own blog that “an Englishman’s home is his castle … [but] not when six detectives form the [Met] … arrive on your doorstop…”
So, apparently it is OK for
Tattersall and this band of thieves to unilaterally play vigilante and break into your computer or mine, prompting bloggers such as Mr. Tattersall or others to accuse climate scientists of absurd conspiracies, to be dishonest in their discussion of well established data with the intent of misleading the public, or to bully anyone who disagrees with them, but when authorities investigating a crime, with proper search warrant, show up to investigate misdeeds, suddenly he’s an “Englishman” in his “Castle.” I don’t know whether to laugh of to go medieval on him.
Added: Having said that I do sympathize with my fellow blogger, no matter how much we might disagree, in his consternation over having his equipment taken by the police. Let us hope that it is returned quickly and intact so we can resume with the business of vehemently disagreeing with each other in an open, direct, and straightforward if spirited manner. And I’ll add my voice to the many others who have asked: “Why take the router? What’s the point of that?”
In November 2009, thousands of emails were released … on the eve the Copenhagen climate summit. The episode prompted a series of inquiries into the working practices of climate scientists … they did not find fault with the climate change science they had produced.
We hope to see
arrests appropriate action and a completed investigation that reveals the truth over the next few weeks or months.
Tallbloke is one of the denialist bloggers who was gifted the latest batch of “Climategate” emails. I don’t think he was near the center of the first release. In any case, the U.K. police want a closer look at his computers. Although Anthony Watts says he isn’t a suspect. But if they do a cavity search, who knows what it will turn up….
And, as a much needed reminder, this from Nature:
Although the police
and the university say only that the investiga-
tion is continuing, Nature understands that
evidence has emerged effectively ruling out a
leak from inside the CRU, as some have claimed.
And other climate-research organizations are
believed to have told police that their systems
survived hack attempts at the same time.
Jones and others connected to the CRU
fear the hackers may be sitting on more stolen
e-mails, but Jones feels confident the worst
is behind him. “
Nature, 19 November, 2010
Some friendly advice: If you ever find yourself in possession of stolen goods, call the police, because if you don’t, you’re, well, guilty of possession of stolen goods if you in the US. Someone has been holding on to the recently released batch of emails (presumably those referenced by Nature) for a long time.
The rest of the blog post is deleted because it really should be the subject of a different blog post:
Further Update: This morning (Dec 18th) someone tried to post a comment on this blog post (note that I am not accepting further comments) with what appears to be a link to a set of computer files containing what may be stolen emails. I did not look though this material at all, but based only on context that is my guess as to what the numerous files seem to be. It is also possible that this is a farce of some kind, or an attempt at distributing a computer virus. However, given the context and contents of the comment I felt that the most likely interpretation is that I was being set up by one of the denialists as part of a large scale campaign of harassment they have initiated against me. The comment seemed to originate from France and there seemed to be links to other countries as well, so I reported the incident to Interpol. I don’t expect to hear back from them. Despite the fact that I’m not posting comments on that thread, obnoxious, sometimes threatening comments keep coming through. I don’t understand why people would want to write multiparagraph hate-comments only to have them never seen by anyone. I am getting more harassing missives from these climate change denialists than I ever got from You Know Who. And his notes were milder than many of these. (He is still in custody as far as I know, by the way, in case you were wondering.) Why are global warming denialists so hateful? What is the point of that? (Don’t answer in the comments below!)