Karma Bites

Interesting development in the climtategate front.

Apparently, the Norfolk Constabulary made a visit to Tallbloke’s home with warrant in hand and a request to see his computer cache.

I gotta say it — 20 computers in his attic?

The response in the comments of Tallbloke’s post are hilarious!

Here’s Smokey:

Science blogging:


The feds couldn’t get Al Capone on his criminal syndicate, so they got him on income tax evasion. Word to the wise.☺

What’s funny is that Smokey refers to Al Capone, which isn’t the kind of comparison I’d like made about me – especially when there’s a criminal investigation of actions in which I may have been involved. 🙂

I’ll post updates as we get them.



Apparently, the UK police are collaborating with the US Dept of Justice, who has issued a “formal request” to WordPress.com to preserve evidence for the wordpress blogs for Tallbloke, The Hot Air Vent and Climate FrAudit.

Here’s The Guardian’s coverage:

Both Tattersall and a US-based climate sceptic blogger known as Jeff Id said they had received a “formal request” via the blogging platform WordPress from the US Department of Justice’s criminal division, dated 9 December, to preserve “all stored communications, records, and other evidence in your possession” related to their own blogs as well as to Climate Audit, a climate sceptic blog run by a Canadian mining consultant called Steve McIntyre. All three blogs had received messages from “FOIA” last month pointing to the link hosting a second tranche of emails first taken from the UEA in 2009.

For a good yuk, here’s Delingpole, speculating on who’s behind the recent action on the climategate matter:

Why this is the sledgehammer being used to crack a nut?

We can but feverishly speculate. My personal favourite theory so far – lent credence by several of the wise comments at Watts Up With That – is that it concerns all those encrypted emails that FOIA 2011 claimed to have in his possession when he unleashed Climategate 2.0. In other words, there may be more juicy stuff – much, much more juicy stuff – to come. It may also be that the names incriminated are not merely those of low-rent types like Phil Jones and Michael Mann, but senior politicians and businessmen with much more to lose if they’re ever found out.

So let’s hope they are, eh?

More updates as I get them…


Over at WTFIUWT, William Old has a very sane thing to add, but apparently, William Old is new to WTFIUWT because what he’s accusing the commenters of doing is something that happens all the time at that site and other denialist sites:

Here’s the comment in whole [my emphasis]:

As a visitor to this site, I find it very puzzling that so many posters rush to explain why the police can’t do this, or must do that, when they clearly have very little understanding whatsoever about the matters on which they are pontificating. [TPL: where have  you been, Will? That’s BAU for WUWT commenters…]

Only one poster even mentions that Scotland has quite separate (and very different) criminal and civil legal systems* from those in England and Wales – and even he got it wrong, when he claimed that the criminal caution was the same in both jurisdictions! And the IPCC is only for complaints against police forces in England, not UK forces – again, they have no authority or responsibility for Scottish police forces.

Speaking as a retired senior police officer of some 30 years service, there are indeed many puzzling facets of this incident – but none of those involve the actual legalities of the operation or the SOPs (standard operating procedures) that were followed. No, there was no requirement to make a forensic image at the point of seizure (why, when that’s the first thing that will be undertaken on forensic examination?), and no, the chain of evidence isn’t broken accordingly. Have a look here:http://7safe.com/electronic_evidence/ACPO_guidelines_computer_evidence_v4_web.pdfor if the link doesn’t make it to this post, Google for “ACPO Digital Evidence Guidelines”.

There are clearly issues for you guys to debate… but please, the plethora of armchair generals all giving advice (about stuff that clearly they know very little about) is distracting from the real issues… 😦

[TPL: these folks don’t have a clue what the real issues are…]

* And education, banknotes, company registrations, registers of births/deaths/marriages, etc., etc., etc., …

That’s the way they roll at WUWT.
Awww the paranoid types over at WUWT are just too cute not to mock point out: [my emphasis]
  1. Jeremy says:

    A world where corrupt scientists and corrupt bureaucrats and corrupt NGO’s get police protection and ordinary individuals get raided. There is only one word that describes this new world: FASCISM.

    I expect I am now at risk of a police raid, having posted this very comment,

  2. Jason says:

    This is a watershed moment really.

    It is obviously an outrage that Tallbloke has been raided and others “implicated”.

    SO now we will find out if there is any power in the sceptical movement, any influence reach or voice. Or if we are just shouting at each other in isolation and the world of econuts just carries on marching towards world domination.

So many updates!
The latest is that Tallbloke obtained the services of a solicitor to start proceedings against Greg Laden and Science Blogs over comments Greg made. Tallbloke has received a truckload of donations (the denialati are near apoplextic about the possibility of a lawsuit) to replace his equipment and to fund whatever lawsuits are to be had — and I always thought it was Americans who were the litigious types! Greg has revised his post to clarify his views and has offered Tallbloke the opportunity to do a guest post and provide his side of the matter. It appears — thus far — that there will be no suit brought against Greg.
I do hope they find some lead on Tallbloke’s computers or in the data on Tallbloke’s, Jeff Id’s, and Steve McIntyre’s WordPress accounts on the identity of FOIA, but from what I have read, it is unlikely. FOIA would have to be pretty sloppy to leave evidence of his/her identity. It would be great to know who what where when and how.
We already know why, and I don’t for a moment believe the bogus reasons FOIA gave.

About Policy Lass

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33 Responses to “Karma Bites”

  1. The only thing I’m surprised about is that this didn’t happen 2 years ago – the shock out and outrage in the blogosphere, as usual, confuses me.

    Also all the accusations of “fishing expedition” are a bit amusing relative to the Cuccinelli/Mann case.

  2. This suggests that the latest “climategate II” mail dump left something forensically useful — and perhaps, that the current Scotland Yard leadership try to appear a bit more professional after the Murdoch embarrassment.

    Keeping fingers crossed.

  3. This is the same guy who completely fumbled over himself trying to clean up his mess for what happened to Gavin’s email at Lisbon.


    You to read the whole thread and comments, as the story and timeline changes a few times.

  4. But there’s a silver lining to all of this; Tallbloke’s getting enough tips to buy a new laptop. He really has hit the big time.

    I have to say I think Greg Laden’s gone too far, though. No way, in my mind, were TB and Id involved with the hack.

    But as for Delingpole and other British novelty sad supporters of the New Neoliberal World Order, they need to take a deep breath and figure out that the hackers got these guys involved and “Five-Oh!” are just doing their jobs. If you receive stolen TVs in the post, announce to the world that you got stolen TVs in the post, and the world’s media tell the rest of the world you got said TVs in the post, they’ll get curious, come a knocking on your door at some point, and take the TVs, packaging and delivery note away for examination.

    And Delingpole’s so dim that he doesn’t even know that there’ll be nothing new from Roger’s laptops because the full set of emails are already in the existing 7zip file, but locked behind a password which will probably never be broken unless the hackers decide to ‘fess up with the characters and digits.

    No big deal, really, but a big carrot for the troofer mentalists to whinge about how they’re so put down an oppressed.

    • I’m sure Greg will post a correction to his post, which I agree was premature. But it sure is fun to watch the slathering and slavering going on over it. 🙂 Tallbloke has done enough on his own to destroy his own reputation, esp. the Lisbon Gavin-email debacle. This has just increased his profile among the climate whackos and troofers.

      • And now Greg has updated his post to clarify what happened.

        What gets me is this:

        Say someone steals a whackload of televisions from a warehouse whose dock bay was inadvertantly left open. The thief brings the televisions to your house and you disseminate them by leaving them on your lawn. People come by and take a television for themselves. Are you guilty as the original thief who actually took the televisions?

        People on the denier side assume that the emails hacked were all subject to FOIA and thus there was no crime but that has to be proven by an FOI process. You can’t assume that every email in existence on a server is all FOIAble. The FOIA has to be interpreted and each email has to be reviewed to see if it is exempt under the law. There are legal exemptions and a legitimate process to be followed. Yes, Mr. FOIA may have been pissed that the CRU was slow or negligent in responding to FOI requests, but that doesn’t give the hacker the right to hack into the server and steal the emails. Nor does it give everyone else the right to freely take possession of those emails. So those who did could be seen as accessories. I’m no lawyer nor do I play one on TV. 🙂 But I know enough that if you assist in the commission of a crime or disburse stolen goods, you’re involved.

        I look forward to the proceeds of the WordPress requests from Jeff Id and McIntyre.

        As I said earlier, I’d just love to see the emails between him and McKitrick and their denier cronies in the US Senate and in industry, and while this isn’t going to give me that, at least it will clarify what role, if any, these bloggers had in the events. If they are on FOIA’s track, we might see some justice done in this regard.

        • He’s appealing for lawyers to come forward to take a look at Laden’s post, and possibly Michael Mann’s tweet of it, even though he’s allowing it to be repeated at his blog. He’s also asking for the Guardian to correct something and claiming they’re putting his job at risk because they’ve simply repeated what IIRC became public knowledge from the Gavin email debacle. He needs to stop and think it all through a bit more, IMHO, and ask whether any prominent sceptics giving him pseudo-legal advice have actually ever followed through with or won any of their own such complaints and, if not, why that was.

          • TB also needs to ask himself whether these people and armchair lawyers rushing to his support and giving advice actually care about HIM or do they care about A CAUSE? Big difference. In other words, he needs to stop right now, pause for thought, talk it over with his friends and family.

        • Hmm. Is the driver of the getaway car a bank robber too?

  5. This is my favourite comment:

    “They’ll “fit him up” meaning that the cops and the media and probably some sleazy politician will have arranged to frame him as a cyber terrorist. He’ll be the main suspect in the hacking of UAE and the MSM will have him convicted within a week. This is a scary scenario for him. Good luck Tall Bloke.” http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/12/14/uk-police-seize-computers-of-skeptic-in-england/#comment-830978

    Surely somebody is taking the mick – this can’t be a serious comment

    • God no, I’ve found a better one:

      “Its NOT the police!

      Obviously its the gouvernments national intelligence services in action hiding behind the police. They are trying to get hold of “FOIA”. The gouverments are [SNIP! -REP] afraid of what´s in the remaining..encrypted e.mails. There is more here on the line here for the western gouvenrments and the UN and EU than most understand. To find anything that can discredit any sceptic is what they are seeking. They are trying to register all “oppositional” individuals watch your doors and instruct your children NOT to disclose what your familys opinion is on the issue. Dark days are here my friends very dark days. Whos the first sceptic to go to jail for his opinion?” http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/12/14/uk-police-seize-computers-of-skeptic-in-england/#comment-831068

      Are these people for real?

  6. Why this is the sledgehammer being used to crack a nut?

    Well that sums up TB pretty well.

    I’m not discounting the possibility that the police have been more heavy handed than may have been necessary, it would not exactly be unusual, but from my limited understanding of the facts it seems reasonable that they might want to take an interest in the contents of TB’s computer. It doesn’t neccessarily mean he is suspected of criminal activity himself. The paranoia on display at WTFUPT is a wonder to behold.

    • TB may be a nut, but the sledgehammer is after somebody serious. He doesn’t get what’s going on. The promptness of the descent on TB and the other guys FOIA emailed suggests acute attention to the UEA hack, and perhaps other activities. They — the agencies involved behind the police– think there is some forensic data to be recovered from TB’s computer, even if, as he says, he has done nothing wrong.

      Just think, 2 or 3 weeks ago, the distainers of the deniers were whining about the lack of police activity as shown in the local police financial report. The locals had no resources to tackle global internet crimes. I can assure you the U.S. government spends wads of money to protect against hacks and goes after those who attempt to penetrate U.S. computers.

      It has been reported that the intelligence agencies do not feel the UEA hack was the work of an amateur. UEA’s defenses were adequate save for very skilled groups. Security experts want to know who did this.

  7. People on the denier side assume that the emails hacked were all subject to FOIA and thus there was no crime but that has to be proven by an FOI process. You can’t assume that every email in existence on a server is all FOIAble. The FOIA has to be interpreted and each email has to be reviewed to see if it is exempt under the law. There are legal exemptions and a legitimate process to be followed. Yes, Mr. FOIA may have been pissed that the CRU was slow or negligent in responding to FOI requests, but that doesn’t give the hacker the right to hack into the server and steal the emails. Nor does it give everyone else the right to freely take possession of those emails. So those who did could be seen as accessories. I’m no lawyer nor do I play one on TV. But I know enough that if you assist in the commission of a crime or disburse stolen goods, you’re involved.

    This is exactly what I’ve been trying to explain to people over at Curry’s. The fact that information may potentially be subject to a FoI request does not give people the right to go and help themselves – there is a process laid down in law and if you obtain information outside that process without authorisation then you could find yourself in trouble.

    Given that the skeptics are so obsessed by FoI they seem to have very little understanding of how the law actually works, especially in the UK.

  8. Actually while we shouldn’t assume without evidence that Tallbloke is one of the hackers, nevertheless… twenty computers on his attic, some of which are Sun, i.e., Unix, workstations. Makes one think doesn’t it?

    It has always struck me how many Unix/Linux nuts are also libertarian nuts. “Code wants to be free” and all that. TB undoubtedly has the attitude, the drive and the skill set.

    And before you object: I’m also a Linux nut, and the more I get to know humans, the more I like computers. But I’m fighting it, I really am 🙂

  9. Blog posts are taken as slander not libel in England & Wales. Mann only has a 1000 followers on twitter and Laden probably far less on sciblogs. My guess is tall bloke is going to have a job proving he has a reputation to lose and the audience was big enough to justify a libel not a slander.

    Were I advising them I would suggest they get a second opinion before someone get a big fat load of wedge for taking on a case that may not have a good chance. There is a mis perception about English libel law that it is easy to win. It is very very expensive and takes a long time. Its a game for people with deep pockets and if you lose you can be ruined for life. Whats more as Laden is in the UK there is a decent chance even in winning there will be no available legal redress as the US now has laws to prevent the enforcement of English libel judgements.

  10. Whats more as Laden is in the UK

    should be
    Whats more as Laden is not in the UK

  11. What’s really concerning is that the “warmists” are probably more concerned about his best interests than his new found buddies. If, say, he loses and is, hypothetically, successfully countersued, these baying maggots won’t be seen for dust. The problem with a pedestal is it belongs to those who put you on it.

  12. From what I can tell he is not actually getting ‘pro bono’ legal help, but a property lawyer and climate sceptic has agreed to find him some legal advice for ‘expenses only’. As the English justice system is none to fond of people who seek legal action before other avenues have been exhausted I am guessing they will get a visit to some chambers in Lincolns Inn Fields or Temple or some such bit of London where a solicitor will tell them that they need to ask Laden to publish a clarification first before they can proceed. If Laden simply makes clear that he does not think Tallbloke did the actual hack then they can declare victory and the whole messy business sink without a trace.

    As for the police few have noticed that its the Met involved here. As a beat police force the Met covers only London that is not part of the home counties minus the City (City of London cover that). But they act as a national body on key areas like terrorism, organized crime, diplomatic protection, national political crimes and so on. They have no jurisdiction over a small hack in a Norfolk education establishment. Political computer hacking is a huge political hot potato with the Met right now. An MI5 asset in the IRA was uncovered by a hack that the police ignored a couple of years ago. The profile of a perceived ‘political hack’ is liable to be a world of higher on the priorities compared to two years ago.


    There are a lot of rumors kicking around about computer hacks, but there is a dedicated police unit up and running now. Bad time to be playing a naive game of hack the server that treads into politics.

  13. “me legal advice for ‘expenses only’.”
    Rereading that, Greg Wylde will only charge expenses but needs the cash to get someone with a clue about that branch of law.

    Wonder if he has enough for Carter Ruck?

    Now there is a PR disaster, announcing you have hired Carter Fu**. Its taken as a near admission of guilt these days.

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