Of dangling conversations, unasked questions and those unanswered

One of the patterns that I’ve noticed in all the so-called inquiries pursuant to Climategate (including the still unresolved investigation by the Norfolk Constabulary) are the questions that no one seems to have asked – and the parties they have not interviewed.

The flip side (and equally revealing) side of unasked questions are questions that are asked that a correspondent chooses not to answer, which – in the virtual world – result in sounds of silence and dangling conversations.

Readers may recall that towards the end of last month I had highlighted a potential scandal that a “journalist” – in this instance, the Guardian‘s Damian Carrington – was ignoring while valiantly defending the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Richard Klein, an IPCC Coordinating Lead Author dropped by this quiet little corner of the blogosphere to defend Carrington against my critique.

A few days later, because the scope had veered far from that of my original post, I invited Richard to join me in another conversation. And he agreed. I recorded two updates:

UPDATE 08/1/2011 11:24 AM: Richard has advised me via E-mail that he’ll be rather busy for the next few days, and will respond as soon as he can.

UPDATE 08/7/2011 09:21 PM: Richard has further advised that he still intends to respond, but hasn’t yet found the time to do so. In the meantime, some new information has come to light regarding “participants” at the WG3 session in May, and I have commented on this in a new post.

And I haven’t heard from him since! I can’t imagine why, unless perhaps he had taken a look at what I’d found regarding the myth of 194 governments having “approved” the most recent of the IPCC’s faux-pas (Of IPCC reports … and press releases in which they “hide the declines”). I had demonstrated that this myth, which according to Richard constitutes the “actual consensus that the IPCC is famous for” is (not to put too fine a point on it) unsustainable by the IPCC’s very own numbers. While in his Aug. 7 message he said he wanted to “do justice” to my post, at this point, the view from here is that, well, he has no answer. Maybe I should amend the title of that post to “A dangling conversation with an IPCC coordinating lead author”?!

During the course my journey through postings and virtual press clippings past – particularly those pertaining to Gavin Schmidt’s ever-changing story – one of the things that boggled my mind was the absence of any evidence that certain very obvious questions (well, obvious to one who was not inclined to be biased) had been asked! Unfortunately, I don’t know any of these journalists, personally; so I couldn’t just pick up the phone and ask them.

But the questions I would have asked – if I were a journalist – are those that I decided to incorporate into my reply to the response I had received from “Clivere” over at Bishop Hill (after he had had responded to this)

For the record his full reply can be found here [Aug 24, 2011 at 10:10 AM]. To which I responded:


I can see my post irritated you.

Then perhaps you should invest in some reading glasses (or else clean the ones you’re using) … your vision throughout your “response” appears to be quite cloudy. Far from irritating me, though,I found your post amusing. And I should have thanked you for your comment which inspired me to expand on some thoughts that I had not covered in my original post.

I dont intend to be an apologist for Gavin Schmidt but I also am not going to accept the view that every statement he makes is intentional disinformation.

Good. Now, assuming that we are discussing the post on my blog – to which you initially chose to respond here rather than there for some strange reason – perhaps you’d care to revisit (with new or clean glasses), and bring back specific text which has led you to erroneously conclude that my claim is/was that “every statement he makes is intentional disinformation”.

Failing that, perhaps – instead of playing silly strawman games – you’d care to point me in the direction of the amendments Gavin has made to his “reconstruction” Details comment so that your postulated “revisions or clarifications” will not be missed by those who happened to miss the press reports which diverge from that which is on the record.

Otherwise you will leave me no choice but to conclude that you are choosing to misrepresent that which I’ve written in order to sustain your so-called “informed narrative” – for which you seem to have only two or three points that you repeat like a mantra! [But if you choose to persist in this pattern of response, then you really will succeed in irritating me :-) And once you have succeeded in irritating me, well … let’s just say you won’t be a very happy camper!]

And I’m all for “informed narratives”, Clivere. But I think it’s really important not to overlook any of the known facts, don’t you? Once these have all been accounted for, then we can worry about your recitation of unknowns. So, let’s do this, shall we?!

The miracle post at CA on the 17th November is at present the first indication of any informed activity

I’ve corrected the date for you. But apart from being one of your mantras, if this is your idea of an “indication of informed activity” (let alone the first such “indication”) from the perspective of your very cloudy vision, do you not find it simply amazing that Gavin who (according to your exercise in speculation would have been “extremely busy”) is the only person to have even noticed this – let alone thought it worthy of any mention whatsoever?!

In fact, it’s almost as amazing as his bizarre choice to omit – in his “reconstruction” Details – an “indication of informed activity” that is actually … wait for it …documented, far more significant, and can be readily confirmed by anyone. No conspicuously absent log records required.

YMMV, but I prefer to stick with documented facts when discussing “indications of informed activity” Such as the fact that the actual first sign of any “informed activity” was on the evening of November 19, at Lucia’s blackboard – on which Steve Mosher and others had chalked up some examples from the emails

Since Gavin claims that this alleged “hack” occurred on Nov. 17, can you give me one good reason (and, by Gaia, it better be a damn good one – no fog, no mush, no mantras, no diversions, and no hand-waving allowed!) … why:

a) he would not have contacted Steve McIntyre about these “now you don’t see ’em, now you do, now you don’t” alleged 4 “downloads” that – according to his “reconstruction” Details allegedly originated from this hyperlinked nym that no one had noticed – and must have occurred on the 17th before he “took down” this alleged “hack”; and

b) he would not have mentioned the existence and putative source of this alleged consequence of the alleged “hack” in his Thu, 19 Nov 2009 15:48:21 -0500 E-mail to Lucia – approx. 20 minutes after Mosher began posting; and

c) there is no evidence whatsoever that a single one of these alleged 4 downloads (on the 17th) ever made its way onto the ‘net

I cant believe you meant to say that CRU/UEA did not notify the police

Good. Nor is there any reason whatsoever that you should even think of believing that I said or meant to say this. But you knew that. Or you certainly would if you’d actually read what I’d written with some measure of comprehension and appreciation of context. [Helpful Hint from Hilary™: when one speaks of an action as being “The first thing I would do is …” it does not preclude (in fact it presumes at least) a second]

Note I remain intrigued that the file linked to realclimate was named FOIA.zip […]This hints at more than one version of the file being out there but alternatively may have just been a feature of the process to upload it.

Good for you! Maybe it was “extruding the material via a series of exotic foreign ‘proxy’ servers” that did it! Mind you, the result might not have been the same had such extrusion(s) been via non-exotic foreign proxy servers. Alternatively, it could have been a function of “extruding the material” from a “wordpress flatform (sic)”

But we can deal with this later … after we’ve dealt with all the knowns.

After I had posted this, I made a little bet with myself that this would be another dangling conversation with many unanswered questions! Went back today and was not in the least surprised to find that Clivere was reduced to avoidance mode rambling! And it’s all my fault because (according to him) I’m “aggressive” there’s “too much aggression” – presumably in my post!

But on a more serious note … are there any journalists out there who did enough homework in the immediate aftermath of Climategate to ask the questions that should have been asked in order to incorporate all the knowns into their respective narratives? From everything I’ve seen so far, they accepted whatever they were told, simply because a “climate scientist” said so!

I wonder what Gavin Schmidt’s response was when they asked to see the logs that would verify his variously alleged “hack”, “attempted hack”, “prank”, “surreptitious upload” and now-you-don’t-see-em, now-you-do “downloads” – along with the alleged “draft/mock post” at RealClimate. They did ask, didn’t they?!

2 thoughts on “Of dangling conversations, unasked questions and those unanswered

  1. About “every statement being intentional disinformation”, I wouldn’t be so sure that’s false. After all, anyone doing even a little intentional disinforming is quite uncomfortable uttering truths, as they have such a nasty habit of making uncontrollable linkages to other truths — and who knows where that would lead? Much better to stay entirely within the sphere of intentional disinformation, where everything is so much better controlled.


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