Open Thread, January 2012

A couple of timely topics suggest themselves:

1) The Keystone XL application has been turned down by the Obama administration, but the applicant Trans Canada has been invited to reapply and will do so. In other words, a final decision has been delayed until 2013, which was the situation before the Republicans tried to force the issue.

2) Hansen et al have released their  2011 review, “Global Temperature in 2011, Trends, and Prospects”.


117 responses to “Open Thread, January 2012

  1. Here is TransCanada’s Alex Pourbaix (head of oil pipelines) on opposition to Keystone XL (CBC Radio News, Jan. 19):

    “We’ve become quite used to our opponents spreading lies and mistruths about the pipeline. We just have to continue to keep our heads down and keep talking about the truth and eventually that story is going to come out”. [Emphasis added]

    TransCanada claims that Keystone XL will create 20,000 “high-wage” construction and manufacturing jobs in the U.S.

    However a study from Cornell’s Global Labor Institute pegs direct jobs in the U.S. much lower: only 2500-4650 direct construction jobs per year over the two year project.

    • Seriously, I don’t get the ‘logic’ here. ‘OK, Keystone XL will turn the Earth’s climate into crap, but at least we’ll create jobs’? The pipeline can create 20,000, 2,000, or 2 jobs for all I care, but once the carbon emissions start messing up our climate, that’s where the real problem is.

      — frank

  2. frank, as near as I can tell, with certain political types in the US if you tell them that burning this stuff will send the planet to hell in a hand basket at that point they’ve heard all they want to hear and as far as they are concerned its time to put the pedal to the metal. Then there the types that don’t believe in or at least entirely discount climate science, and for them it is all about jobs. And frankly they are dupes of the Republican Congress which is now owned in body and soul by the fossil fuel industry.

    So at this point. like Joe Romm, I have argued that the pipeline is an export pipeline meant to get the oil out of the United States (which it is, with the tar sands oil going to Europe, Central America and Asia), that as TransCanada sees it, the pipeline will be getting rid of the glut that is depressing prices in the United States.

    Please see:

    From page 7 of Section 3 “Supply and Markets” of TransCanada’s Keystone XL Pipeline Section 52 Application

    “Existing markets for Canadian heavy crude, principally PADD II, are currently oversupplied, resulting in price discounting for Canadian heavy crude oil. Access to the USGC via the Keystone XL Pipeline is expected to strengthen Canadian crude oil pricing in PADD II by removing this oversupply.”

    PADD is “U.S. Petroleum Administration for Defence District” and USGC is U.S. Gulf Coast. The pipeline is meant to get the oil out of the US to get rid of the oversupply and strengthen pricing — raise prices in the US rather than lower them.

    … and that by raising prices in the United States it will increase the cost of doing business, consequently resulting in a net loss of employment. I will point out that the DilBit which the pipeline is supposed to carry is far more toxic, carcinogenic and corrosive than conventional oil.

    Please see:

    “‘Oil is oil,’ Cunha said by email. ‘The oil that is already being delivered on Keystone is no different than other crude oils. The same is true for oil that would be shipped on Keystone XL.’

    “But environmental groups say the risks of oil sands DilBit are two-fold. On one hand they think the mixture’s properties are more likely to cause corrosion and hence leak or spill from pipelines. It has more corrosive sulfur and chloride salt, and more abrasive particles including quartz and pyrite. Along with its corrosive characteristics, DilBit must be pumped at higher pressure and higher temperatures – about 150 degrees Fahrenheit — than conventional oil, potentially putting more stress on pipelines.

    Then when DilBit does spill, it is believed to be more harmful to the environment – because of higher levels of heavy metals and other toxics – and the volatile properties of the gas used for dilution also pose an explosion risk. DilBit includes relatively high concentrations of carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and benzene and a highly flammable natural gas compound called pentane. And as the Kalamazoo spill showed, DilBit spills in water are harder to clean up since the heavy oil sands oil sinks after the lighter components have separated, hence it can’t be easily skimmed off the top like conventional oil.

    This is nasty stuff on a variety of levels. Its made me think of Mordor, and heard that I am not alone in this regard. It also reminds me of the Permian/Triassic coal that they’ve been mining in a province in China that has caused lung cancer to skyrocket due to its impurities.

    The original path would have been taking this brew over major aquifers lying under eight states:

    The pipeline, which would transport the tar sands material to refineries near Houston, would cross one of America’s largest underground water reserves, the Ogallala Aquifer, which stretches across 174,000 square miles (450,000 square kilometers) and underlies eight Great Plains states.

    Will Tar Sands Pipeline Threaten Groundwater?
    Proposed Keystone XL pipeline would carry diluted bitumen, or “dilbit.”

    Can you imagine what that might have done to the water supplies — which are already running low, and in a time of increasing drought?

    But what I see as the result of burning our nontraditional fossil fuels is a world plagued by severe drought and famine for the next 100,000 years, and I wonder if in arguing about oil prices, jobs or even contaminated water we aren’t buying into rather than challenging the standards of those who personally I see as immoral and irrational, people who I am trying to get to act in their own near-sighted self interest — in spite of themselves. To me the how such people can be so wholly indifferent to the lives or suffering of others or to the future of humanity is a haunting, inscrutable riddle.

    • I wonder if in arguing about oil prices, jobs or even contaminated water we aren’t buying into rather than challenging the standards of those who personally I see as immoral and irrational

      My point exactly. It’s nice to debunk the overinflated job figures, but there’s something wrong when major policy wonk institutes don’t bring up the question of whyjob figures are considered so important in the first place.

      Surely, ensuring that there’s a livable Earth is much more important than creating jobs! (And more important than getting Obama re-elected, for that matter.)

      — frank

    • I’m actually planning to do a post on the jobs issue. I heartily concur it’s a red herring that distracts from the real issues (climate change, environmental degradation). One should never debate “jobs” without mentioning that.

      But is also important to point out the flaws in, say, TransCanada’s economic arguments. Here we have a company that claims to have the “facts” on its side, and demonizes its opposition as purveyors of “lies and mistruths”. But when one looks at the actual issues, it’s clearly the opposition that has better command of the facts.

      And, of course, the same proponents who tout the economic benefits also downplay or avoid the climate impact issue. It’s an undeniable fact that currently projected expansion of the oil sands renders Canada’s own stated GHG emission targets for 2020 or 2050 impossible, nor is it compatble with any plausible global scenario limiting atmospheric CO2e to 450 ppm. But there is not a single oil sands proponent who is prepared to admit that, to my knowledge. That’s outrageous.

    • Susan Anderson

      Mordor, that’s about it. Sadly apposite!

  3. @Frank

    Short term gain for long term pain? If your yearly bonus, not to mention possibly your CEO job relies on constant growth then it may be hard to deal with some realities such as AGW except as a denier.

    Also I have found many people, especially economists, don’t seem to understand the concept of a finite resource.

  4. Glenn Greenwald, the conscience of the US, is at it again:

    (2) The U.S. really is a society that simply no longer believes in due process: once the defining feature of American freedom that is now scorned as some sort of fringe, radical, academic doctrine. That is not hyperbole. Supporters of both political parties endorse, or at least tolerate, all manner of government punishment without so much as the pretense of a trial, based solely on government accusation: imprisonment for life, renditions to other countries, even assassinations of their fellow citizens.

    Kind of makes it moot whether the US will pass climate legislation or not.

    After all, what’ll be the point of passing laws anyway, if the government honchos — and even ordinary US citizens — are ditching the very idea of obeying laws?

    — frank

  5. Frank–I read your post about Megaupload. A grand jury made the indictment.
    You don’t know how the laws work.
    The way the prosecution of Megaupload is working is nothing new. And yes, Megaupload hosted those CRU stolen emails.
    The owner of the company got in trouble in the past for embezzlement and some computer crime, according to an article I read.
    I have a post with links about Megaupload. Check out the Ashburn connection. Hmmmm….

    • The post is here:

      MegaUpload also hosted AR5 ZOD for a time (and maybe FOD too – not sure).

      Speaking of which, Steve McIntyre has got hold of the AR5 FOD paleo chapter, and is conducting his own open “review” and “audit”, with predictable results.

    • Snapple, an “indictment” just means that the grand jury thinks there might be an actual case to be brought before an actual court and an actual (petit) jury. And the “indictment” tends to be based on whatever information the prosecution has brought forward, with no input whatsoever from the defence.

      Furthermore, in this case, the indictment reads,


      91. There is probably cause that the property described in this NOTICE OF FORFEITURE is subject to forfeiture pursuant to the statutes described herein.

      There’s only “probable cause” for confiscating Megaupload’s property — that is, the grand jury only thinks that Megaupload might well be guilty, and that Megaupload’s property should be confiscated if it is guilty. That’s not the same as inviting the prosecution to confiscate Megaupload’s property straight away!

      The owner of the company got in trouble in the past for embezzlement and some computer crime, according to an article I read.

      Megaupload might have been guilty of all sorts of crimes in the past, but at the end of the day, each new accusation should be considered in its own right, with its own evidence, its own due process.

      It’s wrong for a judge or jury to say, ‘you were found guilty of rape before, therefore I’ll just proclaim you guilty for this later rape you’re now accused of’. That’s not how the law should work.

      I’m not a fan of Megaupload myself (I don’t even use it very much), but I find it troubling that much the ‘damning’ information about the current lawsuit against Megaupload is coming only from the prosecutors’ side, and that they can somehow seize property based only on their own side of the story.

      — frank

    • I agree: Due process is vitally important. As I understand it, that was a major issue in the pushback against SOPA (I have to admit I haven’t followed it as closely as I should).

    • I have to concede though that Snapple is right on one thing: the indictment was formally issued by the grand jury, not by the prosecution as I stated in my blog. I’ll correct my blog entry once I can.

      — frank

  6. Frank–here is a link to the indictment.

    Notice that at the top of the indictment it names a federal court?

    The Ashburn connection might be interesting.

  7. Frank–look at all the past crimes of the Megaupload guy.

  8. Frank—are all these cooperating countries also going down the tubes? Wikipedia observes:

    “On January 19, 2012, Kim Schmitz, Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk were arrested in Auckland, New Zealand, by New Zealand authorities. New Zealand authorities were cooperating with the United States’ FBI and Justice Department, Hong Kong Customs and the Hong Kong Department of Justice, the Netherlands Police Agency and the Public Prosecutor’s Office for Serious Fraud and Environmental Crime in Rotterdam, London’s Metropolitan Police Service, Germany’s Bundeskriminalamt and the German Public Prosecutors, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Department of Justice in the investigation preceding the arrests.[36][37]”

    I would not want to store my data with a company run by a career criminal. In any case, you couldn’t even store it very long. The whole operation was set up to make people upload and download movies they did not pay for. People should not steal other people’s stuff and sell it.

  9. This career criminal sounds like some sort of Bond villain or the Joker in Batman. Read this very colorful article.

  10. Frank wrote:

    Surely, ensuring that there’s a livable Earth is much more important than creating jobs!

    The way I have heard it said, is that the economy will get better, the jobs will come back, but then we will still be left with climate change, an issue that will matter a great deal more to people fifty years from now than anything else, including who was president, and which we will be remembered for far longer than that.

    Actually I am not so sure about the economy. This time around? Sure. But the longer we remain dependent on traditional then non-traditional fossil fuels, the worse and more unpredictable the climate is going to get. That is going consume resources and limit our ability to change course. And then those in power are likely to make more draconian and increasingly futile moves.

  11. By the way, an interesting question in my mind is how the seizure of Megaupload’s property might compare with the case of the UK police seizing Tallbloke’s computer equipment (noting that Tallbloke isn’t accused of any crime).

    I think part of the difference between the two lies in the stated purposes of the seizures: the Megaupload seizure was for the purpose of “forfeiture”, while the Tallbloke seizure was only for searching for evidence — and once the police acquired the evidence, they promptly arranged to return the property to Tallbloke.

    — frank

    • The point is though: was due process followed or not?

    • Hard to tell in Tallbloke’s case. I certainly hope it was followed, but there’s not much public information on the reasons given to the judge or to Tallbloke on what the police were actually looking for, and on what grounds.

      — frank

    • Well, actually I meant to ask the question more in the context of the MegaUpload case. I don’t see any evidence that due process wasn’t followed in Tallbloke’s case.

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      I’m pretty sure that also in the Tallbloke case there was ‘probable cause’ for the search. The return of Tallbloke’s computers is undoubtedly due to him not standing charged with any crime, so punitive confiscation wasn’t an option. In the remote eventuality of Megaupload being found not guilty, I also expect the ‘forfeited’ property will be returned.

    • Gavin’s Pussycat,

      I’m not so sure. From what I read, asset forfeiture laws have been used to do some pretty weird things in the past. See this:


      But if you can seize cash or property without ever even charging the person with any crime, much less convicting them of it, the 4th amendment is pretty much turned into confetti.

      I’ve been watching The Wire (great show) recently, and this happened on one episode. The police raided a drug house where the drugs had already been moved, but they did find a pile of cash. So while they had no evidence to press any charges, they could assume the money was likely drug related. The police confiscated the cash and the told the guys that if they wanted it back all they had to do was come down to the station and follow the proper procedures, which would include divulging where they got the money from. Since the drug dealers couldn’t explain what they were doing with thousands of dollars and certainly weren’t going to walk into to a police station to get it back, the money was effectively forfeit without any charges ever being pressed.

      Similar situations may well account for the large number of forfeitures mentioned which never resulted in criminal charges.

      However, as the case with Dorman shows, it seems some police are refusing to return confiscated money and property even after being show they come from legitimate sources, which is unconscionable. And the conditions under which these seizures are occurring should definitely amount to more than “a black person was found with money.”

      Posted by: H.H. | February 17, 2009 3:04 AM


      H.H., did you miss the part about reversing the burden of proof?

      Posted by: Azkyroth | February 17, 2009 3:07 AM

      So there may be a possibility that Megaupload is found innocent and yet the forfeited property isn’t returned to them. Sweet freedom.

      — frank

    • Anyway, back to the previous question:

      actually I meant to ask the question [was due process followed?] more in the context of the MegaUpload case

      The indictment states,


      92. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 32.2(a), the United States of America gives notice to all defendants that, in the event of a conviction by any defendant of any of the offenses charged in Counts One through Five of this Indictment, the United States intends to forfeit the property of that defendant as is further described in this NOTICE OF FORFEITURE. [etc. etc.etc.]

      So it’s pretty clear: the indictment only authorizes the forfeiture of the mentioned property “in the event of a conviction”. I see no authorization for asset forfeiture before an actual conviction (unless the prosecution separately applied for a warrant).

      It does look like the DOJ threw due process out of the window when confiscating Megaupload’s property.

      — frank

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      > It does look like the DOJ threw due process out of the window when
      > confiscating Megaupload’s property.

      Hmm, not necessarily. It doesn’t become forfeiture until it becomes permanent. Until then, it’s just seizure.

      BTW what you described one comment up sounds pretty unconstitutional to me… but perhaps those practicing this don’t expect United Drug Gangs of America to go to the Supremes… the law is what you can get away with, it seems

    • Gavin’s Pussycat:

      It doesn’t become forfeiture until it becomes permanent. Until then, it’s just seizure.

      Hmm, you may be right.

      — frank

  12. They shut down a criminal enterprise. They aren’t just going to keep letting the bank robbers empty the safe during a trial. Get real!

    I have a top-flight lawyer if I want patronizing legal advice.

    [DC: Try to avoid insulting fellow commentators. It’s not hard to make your point without that.]

  13. “The Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture Program encompasses the seizure and forfeiture of assets that represent the proceeds of, or were used to facilitate federal crimes. The primary mission of the Program is to employ asset forfeiture powers in a manner that enhances public safety and security. This is accomplished by removing the proceeds of crime and other assets relied upon by criminals and their associates to perpetuate their criminal activity against our society. Asset forfeiture has the power to disrupt or dismantle criminal organizations that would continue to function if we only convicted and incarcerated specific individuals.”

  14. “Was due process followed…” The criminal organization’s lawyers will claim no. As for the cars and guns they seized–that was in New Zealand.

    Go to the Justice Department and read about asset forfeiture.

  15. Probable cause is also “used to refer to the standard to which a grand jury believes that a crime has been committed.” (Wikipedia, Probable cause)

    The indictment was based on a federal grand jury, so they felt they had probable cause. The 4th Amendment says there shouldn’t be unreasonable seizure. Reasonable seizure is ok because otherwise the criminal suspect will keep doing the crime.

    For example, if a bank robber is captured with money, they take it away before the trial. For one thing, it’s evidence.

  16. The police in the US and many other countries take stuff from organized criminals before a trial. The cars can be used for the crimes. For example, if you are using a cell phone/computer in your car or using your car to transport drugs, the car is facilitating the crime.
    Wikipedia notes:
    “Asset forfeiture is confiscation, by the State, of assets which are either (a) the alleged proceeds of crime or (b) the alleged instrumentalities of crime, and more recently, alleged terrorism. Instrumentalities of crime are property that was allegedly used to facilitate crime, for example cars allegedly used to transport illegal narcotics.”

  17. Frank–the reporter Greenwald is clueless about what it takes to dismantle an international criminal organization with millions of dollars. His article was ignorant and uninformed. The authorities have to take the website, cars, and money away from criminals so they can’t continue to do their ongoing crimes—sell pirated films and launder money. The site is evidence of their crime, so investigators can’t let the conspirators change what is in the computers. If we catch a bank robber, we take the money before the trial. We don’t let him keep it and use it to pay his lawyer. We don’t let him keep walking in and out of the bank vault and carrying out more money.
    The oblivious Greenwald totally ignores the legal tools that the US government and other democracies use to dismantle criminal organizations. He reminds me of those people who argued that state authorities couldn’t pursue a criminal if he left the state. Criminals take advantage of the Internet because this makes different elements of the the criminal conspiracy happen in different jurisdictions. Organized crime kingpins insulate themselves from the crime by having different people perform different parts of the crime in different places.

    Some people put “their” CRU emails on Megaupload and now can’t access them. Why should anyone be reading what the felonious-fingered FOIA stole in the first place? It suits me just fine if people like Virginia’s Attorney General Cuccinelli and Ashburn’s “ex-CIA operative” and blogger-conspiracist Kent Clizbe can’t get their hands on other people’s stolen emails. The owner of this Megaupload seems to be a rather notorious convicted criminal. Maybe people should do a little research before they post “their” stuff on a notorious career- criminal’s site. He didn’t even save people’s stored material unless it was frequently downloaded. That shows that something is wrong.

    The accused were leasing 525 computers in Ashburn where they evidently stored stolen movies. If these computers were warehouses with stolen goods, would you say the culprits could keep “their” stuff until they are proved guilty?

    If someone is found not guilty, the government has to restore their property, but Megaupload seems to be the cyber-equivalent of that criminal bank called BCCI.

    • Snapple, here are some of my thoughts:

      Primo: The problem with the concepts of “due process” and the “rule of law” is that the law applies equally to everyone.

      It’s easy to say “Megaupload looks EEEVILLL!!!!!! Why should we care if bad things happen to it?” But as I said, the law applies equally to everyone. You don’t have a set of laws that only apply to evil people, and another set of laws that only apply to good people. So you need to ask yourself this: is there a chance that the bad things happening to bad people can also to good people? And this is the question Greenwald is getting at.

      Secundo: I think forfeiture shouldn’t be used for the purpose of collecting evidence. If prosecutors want to collect evidence, they should go through a different process — ask for a search warrant. Search should be search, and forfeiture should be forfeiture.

      — frank

  18. The Indictment says that there are other conspirators known and unknown to the grand jury. Maybe they are hinting that some unindicted co-conspirators are cooperating with the authorities and testifying against Megaupload before the grand jury. Probably there are LOTS of co-conspirators, and they will be wondering who is talking in exchange for a deal with the prosecutors.

    On my site I have a link to the Ashburn Patch.

    They describe the millions of dollars flowing to Richmond, Virginia. I think that’s from the Indictment, too. It’s very long and complicated.

  19. The court that issued the Indictment is the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, the Alexandria Division.
    The Alexandria Court is what Virginians and Washingtonians call “The Rocket Docket”. Other courts are called “the rocket docket, but this was the first.” This is where really big federal criminal cases are tried–like terrorists–really fast. This is where really high-priority cases are often sent.
    As Wikipedia notes:
    “A rocket docket refers to a court or other tribunal that is noted for its speedy disposition of cases and controversies that come before it, often by maintaining strict adherence to the law as pertains to filing deadlines, etc.
    The term was originally applied to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia,[1] after Judge Albert V. Bryan Jr., who ran the federal courthouse in Alexandria, decided that justice was being dispensed too slowly for his liking. The court earned the nickname among attorneys practicing there in the 1960s, who told stories of Bryan ruling on the spot when motions were argued, and trying entire cases in one afternoon.”

  20. The Rocket Docket is also where we try Al Qaeda terrorists like John Walker Lindh and spies like the FBI turncoat Robert Hanssen and the CIA turncoat Aldrich Ames.

  21. Frank–Greenwald is a clueless nitwit who evidently has no clue about US criminal law as it relates to organized crime. It is standard procedure to confiscate property when the criminals have an ongoing criminal enterprise. Read the links about this on my blog.

    The Rocket Docket convicted Lyndon Larouche during the 1980s.

    It is interesting that the servers the racketeers leased are in Ashburn and that heaps of money is going to a bank in Richmond.

  22. Frank–we don’t have “a set of laws that only apply to evil people, and another set of laws that only apply to good people.”

    We have a set of laws that apply to ongoing organized criminal operations–gangsters. We take “their” stuff so they can’t keep doing their crimes, after a federal court issues a the grand jury’s indictment. The whole time the jury was looking into this, the criminals were operating, laundering money and stealing movies.

    If the accused gangsters are going before the Alexandria Rocket Docket,” they will be going to federal prison for a long time, and all “their” stolen property and their business will be forfeit.

    Only criminal lawyers who work for gangsters have a problem with this, not a Virginia jury.

    • Snapple:

      Frank — we don’t have “a set of laws that only apply to evil people, and another set of laws that only apply to good people.”

      We have a set of laws that apply to ongoing organized criminal operations — gangsters.

      You don’t get it.

      My point — and Greenwald’s point — is that laws which are ostensibly used against “gangsters” can also, without the appropriate safeguards, be used against good, innocent people.

      That is the problem.

      — frank

    • There is such a thing as abuse of process. And sometimes it’s hard to tell if it’s happening at the time.

      A clear example of habitual abuse of process, though, is personified by the antics of Virginia Attorney-General Ken Cuccinelli.

  23. Frank writes: “Greenwald’s point — is that laws which are ostensibly used against “gangsters” can also, without the appropriate safeguards, be used against good, innocent people.”

    Any law can be abused when the law makes a mistake or is corrupt, but they had a grand jury look at the evidence before they were arrested and their property seized. There are bad policemen who plant evidence, but we still have police because the public needs to be protected.

    Cuccinelli is abusing his office to defame and persecute Dr. Mann on behalf of his financial sponsors. He can’t demonstrate probable cause for his civil investigative demand. Cuccinelli is a former fossil fuel lobbyist and his father is still in that business and gives money to his son’s campaign. Cuccinelli has the help of the criminal Climategate hackers, dishonest, corrupt Congressmen, ignorant bloggers, and fossil fuel money. All the scientific organizations have explained why Cuccinelli is wrong, so he is acting dishonestly, not mistakenly. Still, Dr. Mann seems to be prevailing, and Cuccinelli may end up paying for misusing his office and orchestrating this campaign of defamation and intimidation.

  24. The FBI says on its site:

    “Public corruption is a breach of trust by federal, state, or local officials—often with the help of private sector accomplices. It’s also the FBI’s top criminal investigative priority…Corrupt public officials undermine our country’s national security, our overall safety, the public trust, and confidence in the U.S. government, wasting billions of dollars along the way. This corruption can tarnish virtually every aspect of society…We’re in a unique position to investigate allegations of public corruption. Our lawful use of sophisticated investigative tools and methods—like undercover operations, court-authorized electronic surveillance, and informants—often gives us a front-row seat to witness the actual exchange of bribe money or a backroom handshake that seals an illegal deal…and enough evidence to send the culprits to prison. But we have plenty of help. We often work in conjunction with the inspector general offices from various federal agencies, as well as with our state and local partners. And we depend greatly on assistance from the public. So let me end by saying, if anyone out there has any information about potential wrongdoing by a public official, please submit a tip online or contact your local FBI field office. Your help really makes a difference.”

    • The FBI and DOJ say that the FBI and DOJ will only do ‘bad’ things to ‘criminals’ and ‘good’ things to ‘innocent people’.

      Of course they’d say that, wouldn’t they?

      Do you really expect the DOJ web site to say, for example, ‘the Attorney General will only prosecute cases that will help make President Obama look like a powerful man while not angering his rich campaign donors’?

      — frank

  25. Here’s a good explanation of the facts behind the indictment and seizure order. And it does not cast MegaUpload in a good light.

    In effect, MegaUpload had a “pointer” system, where multiple uploads of the same file (say, a film) would have individual URLs but point to the same file on MegaUpload’s servers.

    When a copyright infringement notice was received for a specific infringing link, only the individual URL was removed, *not* the underlying file and other links to it. The inescapable inference is that MegaUpload had a system that appeared to provide for removal of copyright infringing material, while in fact still permitting access to that material via other links.

    Frankly, I’m getting less and less sympathetic to them.

    • Deep Climate,

      Neither side of the lawsuit is looking very clean at the moment. On one side, a company which apparently condones the uploading of copyrighted material; on the other, a law enforcement agency with no qualms about overstepping the boundaries of their power.

      — frank

  26. Susan Anderson

    Oh, sigh, mizewell – and hopefully it will change the subject matter from bad to worse. Alert: extreme Throbgoblins fan, though I think he got a little annoyed at “clictivism”:

    Anyway, pretty much describes Keystone et al.

  27. Frank writes: “a law enforcement agency with no qualms about overstepping the boundaries of their power.”

    Frank, you didn’t even know that a grand jury told the court to indict them. A grand jury of citizens and court with a federal judge indicted Megaupload, not a law enforcement agency. That is how the US system works.

    As for overstepping, the authorities in many countries have been working together on Megaupload–not just the DOJ. And they did what they did based on what the Indictment from the grand jury told them to do and what their own country’s procedures are.

    The grand jury/court tells the law to arrest the criminals and take “their” stuff (that they stole). Read the 74 [page] Indictment to see how the system works and what the laws are. The Grand Jury Indictment tells the authorities what to do. It lists what to confiscate. It lists whom to indict.

    Governments all over the world confiscate property when they are dealing with an ONGOING crime. Otherwise, they would never be able to stop the crime from continuing.

    Now these guys are going to go on trial for money-laundering, stealing movies, etc. If they are in the Alexandria “rocket docket” they will go to jail for a long time. This is where the highest-priority federal cases are tried.
    That’s where we try terrorists, spies, and major criminal organizations.

  28. How are “agencies overstepping their power,” Frank? What did they do that was illegal? You are making vague, unsubstantiated allegations about illegal behavior just like Attorney General Cuccinelli does. What EXACTLY was overstepping? Are you an American who is an expert on our laws?

    The agencies did exactly what a grand jury (court) Indictment ORDERED them to do. The grand jury Indictment told the law enforcement to confiscate assets. They had a long list of exactly what was to be seized right in the Indictment. they even told the license plates of the cars to be confiscated. The agencies did what the Indictment ordered. The agencies do what the court says. That’s why they are called agencies. The New Zealand law enforcement did much of the property confiscation, so they must have similar laws.

    The grand jury are citizens who live in Virginia—they aren’t “Obama’s rich friends.” Perhaps you think that people who make films should have their work stolen because they are supposedly “rich”? If so, why are you complaining because the grand jury said Megaupload’s (stolen) stuff could be confiscated? The Megaupload gangsters are rich. Perhaps you think the laws should protect people who definitely got rich from stealing movies but not people who supposedly got rich from making movies?

    Property is not confiscated just because the FBI and DOJ decide to do it. The Indictment is made by a grand jury of Virginia citizens, and law enforcement does what the grand jury orders, based on our laws. During the grand jury investigation, the criminals continue with their ongoing crimes of stealing other people’s property and selling it.
    How would you like it if burglars kept loading all your stuff onto a moving van for several days and the police never stop them because the grand jury is still studying the evidence? You wouldn’t like it, but that’s how our system works. That is why stuff is finally seized after the grand jury issues an Indictment. They already know a lot, and people want their stolen stuff back.

    A lot of the media stories about Megaupload are not in English. About ten countries worked on Mega Conspiracy together. Are you saying that a Virginia grand jury, Hong Kong (China), New Zealand, the Philippines, Australia, Germany, the UK, Netherlands, Canada, and Germany take orders from Obama? I guess you should consider all these countries doomed, not just America.

    The DOJ notes:

    The investigation was initiated and led by the FBI at the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) with assistance from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. Substantial and critical assistance was provided by the New Zealand Police, the Organised and Financial Crime Agency of New Zealand (OFCANZ), the Crown Law Office of New Zealand and the Office of the Solicitor General for New Zealand; Hong Kong Customs and the Hong Kong Department of Justice; the Netherlands Police Agency and the Public Prosecutor’s Office for Serious Fraud and Environmental Crime in Rotterdam; London’s Metropolitan Police Service; Germany’s Bundeskriminalamt and the German Public Prosecutors; and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police – Greater Toronto Area (GTA) Federal Enforcement Section and the Integrated Technological Crime Unit and the Canadian Department of Justice’s International Assistance Group. Authorities in the United Kingdom, Australia and the Philippines also provided assistance.”—Department of Justice (1-19-12)

  29. Did you all see Canada helped? Especially in Toronto. Some of the computers that stored stolen stuff are in Toronto:

    “Royal Canadian Mounted Police – Greater Toronto Area (GTA) Federal Enforcement Section and the Integrated Technological Crime Unit and the Canadian Department of Justice’s International Assistance Group.”

    If you don’t like what the Canadian DOJ did to protect your intellectual property, we Virginians will be happy to send you our attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. This “conservative” (!) just loves it when computer criminals “liberate” scientists’ emails in the name of “the people.” He loves stealing in the name of the people so much that he cites the Kremlin’s press agency RIA Novosti when he attacks our EPA in the name of “the people” of Virginia.

  30. [DC: Deleted – argue the issues, please. Next time, I’ll just trash the whole comment. Thanks!]

    All these people who lost “their” stuff on Megaupload are mad. Now I guess they got a taste of what Megaupload is doing all the time.
    They steal the movies and make money. The people who made the movies are ripped-off. Maybe these lockers should be regulated, and career criminals shouldn’t be able to own them.
    Kim Dotcom is a career criminal who has already been convicted of many crimes. Maybe people need to read about these sites before they put stuff on them.

    I am proud that a Virginia grand jury ordered the authorities to shut down Megaupload. I hope they follow up on all the theft and money-laundering that used computers in places like Toronto and Ashburn, Virginia.

    I was mad when the Anonymous DOS deprived me of my right to read what was on the DOJ and FBI sites. They talk about freedom for the people but they really are defending criminals who steal and violating my rights to access a government site.

  31. Cuccinelli is always “protecting the people” by mischaracterizing stolen emails. He’s really no different than Anonymous. Cuccinelli and Anonymous both depend on computer criminals to attack programs of the Federal Government that really protect me. Anonymous doesn’t want me to read what the DOJ says, and Cuccinelli doesn’t want me to read what Dr. Mann says.
    This is the way that totalitarians “protect” the people.

    I don’t even always agree with the FBI. I told them that their white paper was defaming famous climate scientists. I could make my point without trashing their site. The FBI may think that nuclear winter is a KGB hoax, but all the scientific organizations and FEMA write about it. When it comes to climate science, the FBI are morons who believe what some KGB defector claimed. The FBI has not studied the history of nuclear winter research at all. They published KGB propaganda in their white paper instead of real research, and they very stubbornly don’t look into why this happened.

  32. [DC: For the last time, stop personalizing this discussion. In fact, I think you should let others have a turn for a while. Thanks!]

  33. Snapple, this is getting repetitive …

    — frank

    [DC: -Edit- I agree. Both of you have made your points, and a couple of the rest of us have even managed to get a word in. Time to move on, methinks.

    But I also don’t think we should move to another topic even more removed from climate science. Thanks!]

  34. The same US authorities who are prosecuting Megaupload are also investigating/assisting the British with the CRU hacking–the criminal division of the DOJ. Maybe a grand jury is working on the CRU hack right now. Who knows. The prosecutor who signed those letters to the blogging platform works in the criminal division on intellectual property issues. Both Megaupload and the CRU email theft involve intellectual property theft. Nobody had a “right” to steal those emails or Scotland Yard wouldn’t be asking the DOJ for help.

    In the US, before a person can be accused of a federal felony and arrested (and possibly imprisoned before his trial) the facts are presented to a grand jury. There are two reasons for this. First, it is a guard against proprietorial misconduct. The views of the public are considered. Second, the target of the investigation does not have his name dragged through the mud if he is innocent. If the target is arrested he will probably be jailed. If the crime is ongoing, assets derived from the crime as well as assets that facilitate the crime may also be seized. They would have to be returned if the person is innocent, but if you seize someone’s business and it is ruined, how can that be fixed? For this reason, the federal government has to be very careful before it does that. the Megaupload jury has been sitting for two years, so they know a lot before the assets are seized and the targets arrested.

    What Frank is saying is what criminal defense lawyers always tell reporters—no due process. Greenwald interviewed a defense lawyer and gave the party line on what they always say. If Greewald had read the Indictment, he would see that a jury of citizens has been studying the evidence for two years, and believe me, when a case is sent to the “rocket docket,” the DOJ considers it very high priority.
    A very interesting point may be where the computers in the US and Canada are located. Maybe we will hear more later. The “rocket docket” moves pretty fast.

    • No, the CRU case is not primarily about “intellectual property”. It’s about gross invasion of privacy and hacking of networks by inimical interests seeking to defame climate scientists.

      Also note that I will decide who will get the last word on MegaUpload. So I’ll let Frank, and anyone else who wants to, weigh in one last time, and then it’s over. Thanks for your understanding.

  35. Frank–I am not sure that Obama wants the Keystone Pipeline; but he is a politician, and sometimes they have to “play politics” as they make their moves. That issue is very complicated for me to follow. What Cuccinelli is doing is more my speed.

    Sometimes I wonder why the people who are worried about the environmental consequences Canadian pipeline are quiet about the expansion of ports to import Russian liquefied natural gas.

    I agree with moving away from fossil-fuels, but I wonder why environmentalists never focus on Russia. If we don’t get the Keystone, will the protestors complain when the Russians sell us LNG; or will they be quiet?

    I know that Gazprom officials spread propaganda against fracking. They are cited even in one of the NY newspapers. They say it is bad for the water. Maybe this is true propaganda, but maybe they are saying this because they want to sell their LNG to the US. Gazprom is not worried about polluted American water. I read they are making ports for LNG in the south. Why don’t environmentalists talk about that?

    I want clean energy, but if I have to take my choice in the short term between Canadian political influence and political Russian influence, I am more concerned about Russian influence on our politicians.

    This was the problem I had with “peace” activists. They often only targeted American weapons while remaining silent on Russian weapons. If we really want fewer weapons and clean energy, everyone has to be willing to make changes, not just propaganda.

    • I am not sure that Obama wants the Keystone Pipeline; but he is a politician, and sometimes they have to “play politics” as they make their moves. That issue is very complicated for me to follow.

      Snapple, the science regarding Keystone XL is quite clear: approve it, and the chances of the Earth’s climate going to crap go dramatically up. James Hansen said “it’s essentially game over” if Keystone XL is approved.

      Are you saying it’s OK to destroy the Earth’s climate balance for the sake of “realpolitik”?

      — frank

    • I think it’s important to distinguish between full-scale rapid development of the oil sands, and the effects of Keystone XL.

      The “carbon bomb” scenario involves ramping up to 10 or 20 million barrels per day, and then keeping that output for many decades. That’s not a realistic scenario, even in Stephen Harper’s most fervent dreams.

      Having said that, the oil sands do represent a “double whammy”: a very large reserve of fossil fuels, requiring a high carbon footprint to extract.

      The oil sands are not going to be shut down any time soon. But they do need to be reined in, with a peak output and phase out consistent with 450 ppm CO2e energy use scenario. The currently planned massive expansion is in no way compatible with any such reasonable 450 scenario. It’s not even compatible with Canada’s own stated GHG targets for 2020 and 2050.

      Under any realistic scenario where Canada, the U.S. and the world moves expeditiously from fossil fuel use to renewables (and possibly 4th gen nuclear), all the proposed pipelines are likely unnecessary and represent wasted infrastructure. That money that would be much better invested in a low-carbon future.

      The Canadian government and the oil industry pretend that the oil sands can be developed “sustainably” and refuse to acknowledge this inherent blatant conflict between the massive oil sands development now underway and a sustainable energy future. They are not acting in good faith.

  36. Environmentalists and scientists are demonstrating in front of the White House against Keystone, but will these same people demonstrate about the expansion of Russian oil and especially natural gas and liquefied natural gas. Don’t Russian fossil fuels also cause climate change?

    The Russians mostly talk about how to adapt to climate change. They are building huge sea walls and experimenting with putting particles in the atmosphere to dim the sun. This won’t prevent the acidification of the ocean, it may have other bad consequences, and there would be a huge rebound effect if it were to be stopped.

    It’s funny that denialists like Monckton, Pat Michaels, Piers Corbyn, and John Sullivan appear on the Kremlin-financed English language Satellite channel Russia Today and denounce our climate scientists for believing in the “hoax” of global warming. The Russians know global warming is happening. They even have scientific conferences about geoengineering to mitigate the consequences.

    Of course, this may reflect a change of policy, but I don’t think so because Piers Corbyn was just on Russia Today.

    The Russian propaganda says one thing on Russia Today to English-speaking audiences, but they also hold international conferences on geoengineering to mitigate climate change.

    It reminds me of the double-speak they gave on nuclear winter in the 1980s.

    This is why I don’t totally trust the campaign against the Canadian pipeline. Why don’t these same activists talk about Russian gas?

    • My understanding is that the U.S. is set to become net exporter of LNG by 2016. That’s bad news for Russia and Alberta too.

    • Snapple, there’s no need to invoke any conspiracy theories regarding the lack of opposition to Russian gas. I think there’s a simple reason for it: Russia isn’t seriously trying to sell gas to the US or Canadian public. Yet.

      (In fact I suspect the average US or Canadian citizen doesn’t really get her news from Russia Today. (It probably has its own audience, but I can’t figure out what the audience really is.) If and when Russia decides to actively tout their fossil fuels to Anglophones, you’ll start seeing some really huge campaigns in the more traditional Anglophone outlets such as Fox News, CNN, The Guardian, … And then, perhaps, you’ll get some real protests going.)

      I think the average climate campaigner isn’t a complete idiot, and knows that natural gas produces greenhouse emissions, no matter where it comes from.

      — frank

  37. Congress, not Obama, may have the final say on the Keystone Pipeline. Steve Horner of DeSmogblog writes:

    A recent Congressional Research Services (CRS) paper said that under a little-used Consitutional clause, the two chambers of Congress, rather than the White House, could have the final say on the pipeline’s ultimate destiny. CRS explained,

    [I]f Congress chose to assert its authority in the area of border crossing facilities, this would likely be considered within its Constitutionally enumerated authority to regulate foreign commerce.

    Because the pipeline crosses the U.S.-Canada border, many thought that the U.S. State Department, and by extension the White House, had the final say in the manner. This may no longer be true.

    • Yes, it seems presidential approval may be more customary than actually required. However, with the Senate still in Democrat hands, it is unlikely that Republicans could actually accomplish this. Still, it might be a way for Republicans to keep this alive as a political issue in the U.S.

    • The capacity to regulate interstate commerce still requires a presidential signature.

      And the president is in charge of foreign policy. Last time I looked Canada is still a foreign country. (Well, to us you are.)

    • It takes a signed agreement between the two countries as to where the border will be crossed, at minimum. Agreements such as this are commonly known as “treaties”, and are negotiated by the executive branch and ratified by the Senate. I don’t see how they expect to get around this, I think it’s just noise on the part of frustrated Republicans who now realize they got somewhat snookered by Obama on the payroll tax holiday extension.

  38. Yes, although I am sad to say that many of my fellow Americans are geography-challenged and think Canada is sort of a funny 51st state up there. 🙂

  39. Frank writes:
    “Are you saying it’s OK to destroy the Earth’s climate balance for the sake of “realpolitik”?”

    No. I want to go to clean energy, but I don’t control all that and I don’t understate the politics of energy very well. Politics is usually the art of the possible, not the perfect. I am really just asking the questions. They aren’t rhetorical questions. They are just questions I wonder about. They aren’t answers. I’ve done a bit of reading about Russian gas because of my background. I didn’t like some “peace” activists in the 1980s because they only talked about the Americans, not the Russians. They would give the official Soviet view on what should be done.

    The American Gazprom discusses the importance of being more green, and the Russians had a conference about how to respond to climate change. They seem big on geoengineering, so I didn’t think there were very sincere.
    Buying other people’s fuel gives them a LOT of political power. That’s more gas and oil companies taking over our politics.

    [DC: Edit – Enough on MegaUpload and “due process” ]

    • So in essence you’re saying ‘I don’t know much about politics, so I’ll blindly trust Obama and put my full support behind him no matter what he does’?

      What exactly makes Obama so trustworthy, and the modern day anti-Keystone activists so untrustworthy?

      — frank

  40. Deep Climate writes:
    “No, the CRU case is not primarily about “intellectual property”.”
    Legally, that seems to be how the DOJ is going after the hackers. The Request for Preservation of Records is signed by Trial Attorney Kendra R. Ervin of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime & Intellectual Property Section.
    That’s why the Mega Conspiracy is so interesting.

    • Yes, it’s “Computer Crime”. That’s what I said. Not all computer crime primarily involves intellectual property, even if they are covered in the same criminal division of DOJ (for obvious reasons).

  41. That lady lawyer who ordered the blog company to hold the information tries these computer/intellectual property crimes in the rocket docket. That’s her specialty. If you google Kendra Ervin and Alexandria, you can see what she does.
    It was funny that those denialist bloggers thought she was such a moron. Only a top-flight attorney would be a prosecutor in the rocket docket on computer/intellectual property crimes. It is where these cases are tried in the US, plus spies and terrorists. I guess it is because these cases involve the cooperation of many different agencies and foreign countries.
    The connection with this area is also that the servers Megaupload rented are in Ashburn. In Canada, they are in Toronto.

  42. Going back to the CRU cyber-attack: the inactivists are still trying to spin up some conspiracy involving UEA, the Norfolk Constabulary, the ICO, and goodness knows who:

    That aside, the constabulary’s information release is mildly interesting in that it provides a glimpse into the kind of problems facing computer forensics analysts:

    In relation to the latest request from the enquiry, I understand that they would require all emails sent and received by Prof Phillip Jones, Prof Keith Briffa and Dr Tim Osborn if possible on a portable hard disk drive by Monday 26th April 2010. […] We have identified seven machines belonging to the individuals concerned and also the significant number of backups of each of these machines.

    — frank

  43. Frank–Please don’t mischaracterize what I say. I am just pointing out that Gazprom officials are criticizing fracking in is the USA. It is a huge goal of the Russians to sell us their gas. They don’t care about our water, but the Russians can be environmentalists when it suits their agenda.

    The Russian companies do no give Western companies access to business opportunities in Russia unless they also cooperate on politics.

    “In Western Europe, Moscow has operated by making lucrative arrangements with foreign energy companies that become de facto lobbyists for the Kremlin within their own countries.”—“Why The Russia Spy Story Really Matters” (RFE/RL, 7-9-10)

    Sometimes politics makes strange befellows. The “conservative” Cuccinelli cites the Russian government/Gazprom media. The Russians are against fracking in the USA supposedly because it is bad for the environment but really because they want to sell us gas.

    I want to move away from fossil fuels, but I know that can’t be done overnight. In the meantime, I am very concerned about the persecution of our scientists by fossil-fuel companies. To the extent that the Russians get more political influence in the US through their business connections and the influence pedaling of politicians, it will be much more dangerous for scientists and our change-over to renewables will be more delayed.

  44. Going back to the CRU hack—the DOJ lawyer Kendra Ervin who sent the order to the blog company might be getting a case together that will be prosecuted in the rocket docket just like Megaupload because that’s where those international computer/intellectual property cases go. Or maybe she is only assisting a British investigation. Still, you never know where the cases my end up because of the locations of the blogger companies and the computers. The CRU hack may have come from the US. One paper said it came from the East Coast of North America.
    Getting an order to have your computer records turned over to this lady lawyer is no joke.

    • It appears that the original 2009 hacked CRU archive was created on a computer set to the North American Eastern time zone, so that the archive creator was likely in eastern Canada or U.S. (Frank pointed this out – I think that’s where I learned this). But it’s unlikely in my view that the same person hacked CRU – it’s quite possible this was an international effort.

      So far there’s only evidence that DoJ they are assisting the UK investigation. But who knows what’s happening behind the scenes.

  45. Just like I thought WUWFT head honcho Tony is also a follower and contributes to
    18 January 2012

    WUWT Supports the SOPA/PIPA Blackout
    by Anthony Watts

    If you support a free and open Internet, let your legislators know, no matter what country you live in. This is global issue. If you live in the USA, you can find your elected state representatives here and send your concerns.


    even tho in a positive post, it gives background to his motive….

  46. Dear Deep Climate–It was the Financial Times.

    This is what I wrote on my blog (see link below):

    “There have been indications that the hackers could have been based in Russia, and some experts believe they may have been hired by sceptics based in the US.”—The Financial Times (4-15-10)

    After Climategate, I speculated about the possibility of a Russian connection, but I didn’t know so much about denialists then. I knew about how Russians do these “kompromat” operations, tho. Stealing and publishing the emails seemed like typical kompromat.

    I wrote about the possibility of Russian involvement about a week before the European press. Then they said what I said. Of course, I am sure nobody reads my blog. Dragon Slayer John O’Sullivan said he was not going to sue me because nobody reads my blog;)

    Here is my first post ever about Climategate and my thoughts about the possibility of Russian involvement.

    • I’m not sure that the Financial Times noted the Eastern time zone stamp on the emails; in any event that’s certainly not where I got it. Rather that statement refers to rumours that the hackers were bankrolled by U.S. interests. I’ve heard those rumours, but have never seen any substantive evidence.

  47. The CRU hacking reminds me of the dirty tricks Russian political operatives use against their opponents. These are KGB tactics, but not necessarily the KGB. It is just like what happened to Phil Jones, Dr. Mann and others. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (2-5-10) describes the tactics of political consultants for the ruling United Russia party in Saratov, Russia:

    The United Russia party machine uses a noxious slurry of dirty tricks, illegal activities, and domination of the media to discredit and destroy any politician, businessperson, or anyone else deemed an enemy of the Saratov Oblast United Russia party boss and Duma deputy speaker Vyacheslav Volodin.

    The authors of The Black PR Practitioners Of The White Bear, a forthcoming book on the tactics of political consultants for the ruling United Russia party explain:

    At first when a person is identified as a personal enemy of Volodin they initiate a series of negative articles in the mass media. Next those representatives of the public who only imitate the feverish activity of building civil society are activated. These pseudo-activists create paid-for articles in the media that create the necessary public outcry. Or their activities become the excuse for new paid-for articles and television reports. When the number of publications reaches a critical mass, local deputies begin flooding the state organs of the Russian Federation with official inquiries and letters from residents of Saratov Oblast demanding decisive action be taken against the target of Volodin’s attacks, although they produce no real facts that the person has violated the law, because there are no such facts. They merely cite the numerous publications in the media. As a result, authorities higher up in the government form a false image of the real situation in Saratov Oblast. People who are undesirable to Volodin and his entourage and clan are seen in a negative light, which has negative consequences for the political climate inside the region and for the level of decision making here. In short, using such political tactics is a form of disinformation targeting the highest levels of government, which should be considered a premeditated, conspiratorial crime.

  48. Deep Climate-
    The FT didn’t mention the time stamps, but I think they are a pretty reliable business paper compared to the Wall Street Journal.
    You might want to take a look at an article by George Feifer in Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. It is about Gazprom influence activities and is called “Why the Russian Spy Story Really Matters.”

  49. Here is a RFE/RL story about Climategate that speculates about the possibility of Russian involvement: Climategate: A Russian Connection?
    All the powerful people/organizations their own little KGB/political operatives. There is the state security, but Putin may also have his own guys, and the gas companies have their guys.
    What is so scary is that Cuccinelli and all these “think tanks” run these political influence/propaganda operations that are not so different than what the KGB does. Now Cuccinelli has real legal power and abuses his office to persecute people. He has turned his office into a little secret police organization, but so far the courts are not giving him what he wants. Still, he gets a lot of propaganda from what he does. Really, he should be held accountable for using his high office for the fossil fuel industry.

    If Dr. Mann were suspected of a federal crime, there would be a secret grand jury. If the prosecutors could not show probable cause, the whole thing would be thrown out quietly and the target would not be publicly humiliated by a politically-motivated prosecution. Cuccinelli likes the publicity for his propaganda.

  50. Climategate reminds me of Soviet-era KGB lawsuits. Brian Crozier’s book “The KGB Lawsuits” (1995) describes Soviet-era “active measures.” The back-cover of the book observes:

    Active measures included disinformation (the deliberate spreading of false information), either to propagate opinions favourable to Soviet policies or to discredit hostile views and those expressing them. Forgeries played an important role, and so did the fostering of lawsuits, with the aim of immobilizing opponents and, in due course, ruining their reputations. Those included in such activities in the West were not necessarily aware that they were being used. Such people were known in the intelligence world as “unconscious” or “unwitting” agents.

    Of course, others may also use these tactics if they are rich and powerful.

  51. Deep Climate, Snapple:

    I first wrote about the time zones indicated in, way back in November 2009. Later, Brian D alerted me to a Feburary 2010 Guardian article which also touched on the subject, which cited “analysis by the Guardian and digital forensics experts”.

    Actually I find it a bit strange that the major computer security houses, such as McAfee, Symantec, and F-Secure, have said close to nothing about either the 2009 breach or the 2011 release. (I recall that Sophos said some generic things back in 2009, but that was all.) Perhaps this is partly due to the secrecy surrounding Operation Cabin in general…

    — frank

    • Actually I find it a bit strange that the major computer security houses, such as McAfee, Symantec, and F-Secure, have said close to nothing about either the 2009 breach or the 2011 release.

      As someone currently working in the computer security realm, I’d be flat-out amazed if any of the above companies had anything to say about it.

      If you remove the political context, “someone’s mail server got hacked” is every bit as uninteresting as the observation “look, someone’s wrong on the internet!”.

      Now perhaps the hack into Real Climate exposed a previously unknown WordPress exploit, but I doubt it. And even if it had, if the RC crew turned over logfiles etc to WordPress for investigation and a security bulletin were to result from it, the security bulletin wouldn’t read “and, oh, yeah, this was used to hack RC”.

    • dhogaza:

      Perhaps. Anyway, here‘s a blog post by Sophos about the CRU attack; about the technical details, it just says

      Details of how the hack occurred aren’t yet apparent, but this security breach may serve as a timely reminder to other organisations to ensure that they have put the necessary security in place to reduce the risk of something similar happening to them.

      (The details are still not apparent…)

      Meantime, McAfee treated the attack as marketing fodder, and apparently they had this idea that the cyber-attack came from (!) Denmark, because that’s where COP15 was:

      McAfee Inc. (NYSE:MFE) today unveiled its Q4 Threats Report, which highlights the most significant spam-generating stories in 2009 as well as the rise of political hacktivism in countries like Poland, Latvia, Denmark and Switzerland. […]

      Politically-motivated attacks are on the rise around the world, targeting popular social networking destinations, as seen recently with the Iranian Cyber Army’s political attack aimed at Twitter. The report confirms that the United States is not the sole target, nor is China the sole origin for these types of attacks with recent political attacks targeting the Polish government, the Copenhagen Climate Conference and Latvia’s Independence Day.

      Also, no mention whatsoever regarding the attack on RealClimate as far as I know.

      — frank

    • Details of how the hack occurred aren’t yet apparent, but this security breach may serve as a timely reminder to other organisations to ensure that they have put the necessary security in place to reduce the risk of something similar happening to them.

      It is not news that many organizations, including Universities, don’t put necessary security in place and indeed frequently fail to do things as basic as to keep software up-to-date with the latest security patches.

      Meantime, McAfee treated the attack as marketing fodder, and apparently they had this idea that the cyber-attack came from (!) Denmark, because that’s where COP15 was

      Your quote that followed doesn’t mention CRU, just mentions in general that politically-motivated hacks are on the rise (there are several a year that make it into the news, and probably hundreds that are successful but don’t, and lord knows how many tens of thousands that fail and are never reported by those who thwart them).

  52. Russia Today is giving Julian Assange a TV show. Russia Today is a Kremlin-financed satellite TV channel that broadcasts to English-speaking audiences.

    It seems like a grand jury must be investigating him, but has an Indictment been issued? You can’t count on what his lawyers are claiming. Bradley Manning is in a military court.

    Assange is going to make his case with the platform of the Russian propaganda apparatus–Russia Today.

  53. The Guardian claims that the grand jury investigating Assange is in Alexandria. That’s the “rocket docket” again.
    However, a grand jury investigation is supposed to be secret. This protects the target’s privacy in the event that no indictment is issued, but it also allows the authorities to investigate without the target being able to cover his tracks.

    Still, perhaps people sometimes tell. This article makes a connection to Boston and has some links with more information.

    Assange claimed something to do with Climategate, but people didn’t believe him.

    • The hacked emails were (are still?) available on Wikileaks. That’s the only connection. Not sure why Assange should be discussed here – very little relevance to climate.

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      DC yes, little relevance to climate, but I do remember how WikiLeaks was boasting about their role in climategate — which was in reality minimal. Idiots playing heroes.

  54. Ultimately, when you track it back, the information about the grand jury comes from Salon’s Greenwald via Assange’s attorney.
    Greenwald seems to give the defense lawyer’s perspective. The Prosecution is not supposed to talk about what the grand jury is doing.

  55. I am not trying to be difficult. I saw Assange claiming a connection to the Climategate leaks on Youtube. Others discussed and dismissed his claims, but he was put under house arrest in Norfolk.

  56. Here is Assange on Climategate. What do you think of this? He says he released it and that he got it from “sources.” What do you think of this? Can you listen to the whole thing and tell me your opinion? Sometimes Assange says “we” but it is not clear if he means Wikileaks or the media. I think he means that the UK papers claimed Wikileaks got the CRU emails from the FSB (KGB).

    • I’m very skeptical of Assange’s claim as I understand it. But I’ll give it another look.

    • Assange claims that the UK newspapers tried to smear him and WikiLeaks by falsely blaming the FSB for the CRU hack. There was (minimal) speculation to that effect early on because the Tomsk server used in the early days was reputedly also sometimes used by the FSB.

      But Assange’s claim is ridiculous as no one actually got the material from Wikileaks in the initial uproar as far as I know, and there was almost no discussion of Wikileaks role at that point as I recall (mainly because there was no such role).

      Assange’s “source” was probably a second hand one (i.e. someone who downloaded it from Tomsk or one of the other archives). He is either trying to claim “credit” for something in which he had a quite peripheral role or else he is seriously deluded.

  57. The famous denialists don’t like Assange’s claim because they want all the “glory” of getting the hacked emails “first”; however, unless they were complicit with FOIA, they don’t know that FOIA chose their moronic blogs “first.” Maybe more obscure moronic bloggers who mock global warming received a link to the email file on their comments days before the famous bloggers did, but those bloggers were scared and deleted the comment because the link went to obviously stolen emails. Of course, maybe they shared what they saw privately.
    Obviously, it was not ok to steal the CRU emails because the UK and the USA are investigating this as a very serious crime. Assange seems sort of embarrassed that he posted the CRU emails and tries to rationalize what he did by saying it is a big story. He doesn’t tell who gave him the emails. I have learned that if a journalist won’t cite/characterize his source, then the information is sometimes suspect. A reader has to know the journalist’s track record. Assange doesn’t say when he got the CRU emails and when he posted them.
    Some people who are good with computers seem to think they have a license to steal in the name of their cause or ideology. These international investigations show they are wrong. Thieves do not have a “right” to the emails in the name of “freedom of information.” Thieves don’t have the right to take the law into their own hands. Not everything scientists have on their computers is supposed to be made public because of the sources and methods used to collect the information are sensitive.
    Recently Wikipedia and Google showed they were against the proposed new laws. They have a right to demonstrate by blacking out their own site, but hackers also violated my rights to see sites that they blacked out like the FBI and the DOJ. Obviously, these people are not for freedom of information. I am sick of all these hackers who take the laws into their own hands. They are no different than Cuccinelli, who also thinks he has a “right” to everything.

  58. Gavin's Pussycat

    Not everything scientists have on their computers is supposed to be made public because of the sources and methods used to collect the information are sensitive.

    Snapple that’s mostly a misconception. Climatological data is rarely if ever ‘sensitive’ in the national security sense, but may be proprietary, i.e., obtained at cost and effort by someone wanting to use it in his/her own research first.

    What is however legitimately confidential is the pre-publication correspondence of members of an authoring team, because in this phase, candour is essential for the creative juices to flow — contrary to popular belief, also doing science and science writing, while circumscribed by the evidence, are thoroughly creative processes. If this creativity is stymied, the result is a poorer written product. If co-authors would have to expect that their internal correspondence would have to be formulated with the same care and circumspection as the finished product — especially in a hostile world –, not much collaborative authoring would take place. This matters because most scientific papers nowadays are interdisciplinary, interfaces between disciplines being the places where the interesting things happen.

  59. Greg Palast — The Pig in the XL Pipeline

    Insider reveals concealed “error” in pipeline safety equipment that could blow away the GOP’s XL pipe dream […] The flaw allows cracks, leaks and corrosion to go undetected – and that saves the industry billions of dollars in pipe replacements. But there’s a catch. Pipes with cracks and leaks can explode – and kill. […] Pig Man #2 was shaking a bit when he said it. On September 9, 2010, a gas pipeline exploded, incinerating 13-year-old Janessa Greig, her mom and six others. […] Last summer, an ExxonMobil pipeline burst and poisoned parts of the Yellowstone River – only months after it had been “pigged.”

  60. Snapple:

    Maybe more obscure moronic bloggers who mock global warming received a link to the email file on their comments days before the famous bloggers did, but those bloggers were scared and deleted the comment because the link went to obviously stolen emails. Of course, maybe they shared what they saw privately.

    For what it’s worth, I believe the SwiftHackers’ original plan was to publicize the data dump through two and only two channels: Climate Audit, and RealClimate. In particular, the files in the FOIA/documents/yamal/ directory seemed to be meant for McIntyre and McIntyre alone, who at that time was harping incessantly about the Briffa/Yamal ‘scandal’:

    — frank

  61. Pete Dunkelberg

    As you know, the Journal published a mess of a hit piece on climate science a couple days ago, signed by 16 “distinguished” (somehow) scientists (or not). Who could have assembled this ragtag band and induced them to sign this letter, so ill-conceived that it badly misrepresents conservative economist Nordhous? Who might have written the letter? Only Deep Climate can get to the bottom of it.

    • Various people have already dealt with that and the David Rose piece. There’s a roundup of links here, including more in the comments:

    • “Various people have already dealt with that …”

      But Pete D’s question is very pertinent – whose is the unseen hand behind the WSJ statement? That’s a question that is not even being asked for the most part.
      Various petitions appearing in the Canadian National Post were organized by Tom Harris (ex-APCO, now ICSC), working through complaisant NP editor Terence Corcoran. Funding for Harris came from Talisman and Imperial Oil in his APCO days (2002-2005) and we now know the 2007 Bali petition effort was likely funded by Heartland.

      Now it’s possible that Will Happer, say, organized the WSJ effort on his own, but I consider that unlikely. WSJ should clear the air and confirm who approached them to print this statement and the signatories should be pressed to state who contacted them about this.

      In the Bali 2007 case, it was easy enough to guess that Tom Harris was really behind it, a fact assiduously hidden by the National Post’s Terence Corcoran. However I was lucky enough to find the actual solicitation from Harris himself, a real smoking gun.

    • Here’s William Kininmonth on the provenance of the WSJ statement:

      Well, a number of us have been discussing this issue over many years, the fact that there is this alarmism about global warming which we believe is unjustified and so the opportunity came to put something to the Wall Street Journal which we did and we are quite happy to put my name with it. [Emphasis added]

      Just like the “opportunity came to put something to” the National Post in 2007.

    • DC,
      “WSJ should clear the air and confirm who approached them to print this statement and the signatories should be pressed to state who contacted them about this.”

      I agree. Surely the WSJ and the signatories have nothing to hide and wish to be open and transparent?

    • Keep in mind, though, that this isn’t at all new for the WSJ. One might postulate that Murdoch bought the WSJ because he knew that he wouldn’t have to change a thing on the editorial page …

      On the climate science front, it was the WSJ that famously published an op-ed on the initial UAH MSU satellite temperature reconstructions showing cooling, rather than warming, stating that “the satellite data is the wooden stake through the heart of global warming” (paraphrase, but very close to the exact wording). They were unsurprisingly silent as the years went by where we witnessed Christy and Spencer having to walk back from their earlier erroneous reconstructions, leading to Christy being part of a 5-person NAS panel stating that the surface station reconstructions (GISTemp, etc) were as accurate as satellite reconstructions, and in very close agreement (how that must’ve stung for Christy, who immediately tried to back off from that statement when talking to the press).

      This was long before the Murdoch takeover.

      And even earlier, the WSJ went after traditional bastions of Republican conservation of natural resources, the National Wildlife Federation (which endorsed Reagan twice despite lambasting the choice of James Watts as Sec of the Interior) and Ducks Unlimited, both hunter-funded organizations with a fine track record of wildlife conservation. The WSJ tried to push them into the “watermelon” realm, as part of the ongoing effort to purge the Republican party of science-based conservation …

    • Pete Dunkelberg

      “… so the opportunity came….”
      Still they are not telling us who wrote it, who approached who. Eli sees signs of carelessness in naming the signatories and their institutions/past glories. Could someone within the Murdoch organization have written it and then solicited the cranks to sign it? Why just at that time? Happenstance?

  62. The CIA gives climate scientists security clearances according to the NYT. They have to have security clearances to use the data from satellites and other sensors.
    The KGB also hires outside experts to advise them on climate change. You can read this right in the newspapers. The experts told the FSB that climate change would be a bad thing because it will hurt the gas and oil industry. Search my blog for Paul Goble. He has some good stuff about Russian hackers and the climate change issues in Russia.
    The CIA and FSB sometimes even cooperate on climate change.
    Hackers in Russia are sometimes a gray area. Sometimes they can be pointed in the right direction by the state security, but this can blow up in the FSB’s face. There are political operatives who are not FSB who work for the President’s office, Gazprom, the ruling United Russia party. In Russia, everyone has their own little KGBs. Like we have Cuccinelli prowling around making trouble and inciting people.
    There are different constituencies in Russia, but the gas lobby is very powerful and full of criminals. Still, they want to know about climate change because it will affect their businesses.
    Tomsk is well known for its “patriotic hackers.” These are young people who can be pointed in the right direction. There are also just plain criminal hacker organizations.
    Here are some links about all of this. [Paul Goble, a Russia expert]
    Russia expert Dr. Paul Goble has written an article about Russian hackers titled Window on Eurasia: FSB Encourages, Guides Russia’s ‘Hacker-Patriots’ (5-31-07).

    Western denialist appear on the Kremlin’s Russia Today. That tells you what the Kremlin’s propaganda apparatus is up to. Russia Today has a big presence in Washington.

    The Gazprom operative Alisher Usmanov’s paper Kommersant was all over the Climategate story. It gets pretty circular because they quoted the Cato’s Andrei Illarionov. He used to work for Gazprom and Putin. Cuccinelli was even citing (mischaracterizing, actually) the Kremlin’s press agency in his petition to the EPA. Cuccinelli has taken that stupid paper down now. What an idiot!

  63. Assange claims the European media is claiming he got the emails from the FSB. I never heard the European media say that, and I watched this pretty closely. I speculated about the possibility of Russian involvement about a week before anyone in the European media mentioned it, but I had never heard of Assange. I just knew about the reputation of Tomsk hackers and the whole thing seemed like Russian kompromat. Climategate is the kind of scandal Russian operatives would do. I could be wrong, of course. I’d be glad to eat my words if the Brits would just catch the hackers.

    Of course, I doubt the European media reads my blog. Nobody reads my blog. That’s why the lunatic John O’Sullivan isn’t going to sue me.

  64. GREAT NEWS! Dr. Michael Mann’s new book on the Climate Wars is available on Amazon Kindle for $9.99. I had already ordered the book, but I got it on my Kindle. It will be great to hear him explain everything for the lay audience.