Monday Mirthiness – ‘Russia caused Climategate’

Lol, this is hilarious! Asteroid expert and self-appointed super-sleuth Mark Boslough has it all figured out (on Twitter no less). It was the Russians wot dun it! Just like his ilk finds the effects of “climate change” under every rock and behind every tree, and no longer content to blame Exxon-Moblie, Boslogh has used his super-brain to figure out the ultimate reason behind Climategate and continued climate skepticism. He claims the Russians have funded us! Yeah, that’s the ticket! (h/t to Phil Schaeffer)


Boslough is the chairman of “Asteroid Day”, which occurs yearly on the anniversary of the 1908 Tunguska impact in….drum roll….Russia. While I agree with his goals there, because I’ve said before that an asteroid impact event is a far greater threat to the planet and humanity than than “climate change”, you have to wonder how somebody as intelligent as Boslough can fall victim to such wild conspiracy theory.

The derangement over “Russia” in nearly everything political these days (and climate change is no longer just about science, it’s highly politically charged) seesm to run deep in the left. They can’t seem to logically reconcile that Hillary Clinton lost the Presidency on her own merits (or lack thereof) so it had to be “Russian meddling”.

Climatgate started right here on WUWT. And our own Charles the Moderator and Steven Mosher were the first ones to receive and view the files. They were also in contact with the person who left the files from the University of East Anglia of a Russian “dump” server. Oh gosh, that’s it a Russain Server. I was in Europe at the time, and I asked them to wait until I got back before releasing any of the files publicly. We had to confirm their authenticity first, and I was concerned that if they were made public, I might be stopped during my return to the USA. Steve McIntyre summed it up in the Mosher Timeline under the section: “The dog that didn’t bark”. Once I cleared customs in Dulles, I sat down with my laptop and wrote the story that broke the news.

Here’s what Wikipedia says about it:

On 19 November an archive file containing the data was uploaded to a server in Tomsk, Russia,[23] and then copied to numerous locations across the Internet.[8] An anonymous post from a Saudi ArabianIP address[24] to the climate-sceptic blog The Air Vent[20] described the material as “a random selection of correspondence, code, and documents”, adding that climate science is “too important to be kept under wraps”.[25] That same day, Stephen McIntyre of Climate Audit was forwarded an internal email sent to UEA staff warning that “climate change sceptics” had obtained a “large volume of files and emails”. Charles Rotter, moderator of the climate-sceptic blog Watts Up With That, which had been the first to get a link and download the files, gave a copy to his flatmate Steve Mosher. Mosher received a posting from the hacker complaining that nothing was happening and replied: “A lot is happening behind the scenes. It is not being ignored. Much is being coordinated among major players and the media. Thank you very much. You will notice the beginnings of activity on other sites now. Here soon to follow.” Shortly afterwards, the emails began to be widely publicised on climate-sceptic blogs.[22] On 20 November the story emerged in mainstream media.[8]

Readers may recall that Steve Mosher was instrumental in figuring out who dumped a bunch of files into the media in Peter Gleick’s “Fakegate”, where a forged fie was given to the media to make it look like climate skeptics were employed by the conservative think tank The Heartland institute, among many other claims. Mosher figure out it was Gleick who did it, and a forensic analysis of the writing style by a court-level writing expert using a computer analysis of writing patterns pretty much confirmed it was Gleick who did it.

Similarly Mosher, Charles, McIntyre and I have spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out the identity of the leaker. It is clear to us that even though the FTP link was to a Russian “dump” server, used to host all sorts of pirated files like software and games, that was simply a way for the person to separate themselves geographically from the source of the files in the UK in East Anglia. This isn’t particularly sophisticated, hackers and gamers do this all the time to cover their tracks when they post illegally pirated software. These are called “warez” servers.

Mosher spent a lot of time looking at the wording of the communications from the leaker, and the opportunity. He’s identified a person, and while I won’t share the name here, I can tell you it’s a person at UEA, not in Russia.

Long-time readers may remember when McIntyre and I were toying with the folks at UEA over the Yamal and HadCRUT files. You see, the server security was so bad at UEA, that McIntyre discovered one critical file he was seeking via FOIA was just lying on their server in plain wide-open FTP public sight. Once it was discovered that McIntyre had the file, the folks at the Climate Research Unit at UEA started thinking of nefarious methods, like hacking rather than their own incompetency. To help that along, I wrote a satirical piece on the imagined Mole at UEA. What was really going on was that I had public FTP access to the file on the UEA server, just like Steve did. Readers may also recall another article I wrote, post Climategate where it was discovered that the director of CRU, Dr. Phil Jones, was so computer un-savvy, that he couldn’t even plot temperature trends in Excel.

From our story It’s Time For The Person Who Leaked the CRU Emails To Step Forward by Dr. Tim Ball:

Canadian network engineer Lance Levsen after detailed analysis showed, convincingly, the source was someone within the university. He concluded“For the hacker to have collected all of this information s/he would have required extraordinary capabilities…to crack an Administrative file server to get to the emails and crack numerous workstations, desktops, and servers to get the documents.” Access to the files is a major hurdle, but once inside there is a bigger challenge. Which files do you select? Whoever released the files knew which ones were significant. This required considerable knowledge of climate science as well as the politics and machinations of the people involved.

A comment posted on Anthony Watt’s web site encapsulates the problem. “It would take a hacker massive amounts of work to parse through decades of emails and files.” The commenter suggested a different scenario that involved hacking a single file. Such a file would exist because of “an ongoing process of internally collating this information for an FOI response is entirely consistent with what we find in the file.” The problem with this argument is that the emails appeared in November 2009, at which time both the CRU and the University of East Anglia were rejecting all FOI requests. In January 2005 Phil Jones states that he will be using IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) to shelter the data from Freedom of Information requests.” In an email on August 20th 2008, Prof. Jones says “The FOI line we’re all using is this. IPCC is exempt from any countries FOI – the skeptics have been told this. Even though we (MOHC, CRU/UEA) possibly hold relevant info the IPCC is not part our remit (mission statement, aims etc) therefore we don’t have an obligation to pass it on.” It is unlikely anyone did much work preparing files to answer FOI requests. Even if they did, files for an FOI request are different from those required to expose corruption and still required selection.

Levsen reached a solid and logical conclusion “the simplest explanation or strategy tends to be the best one”. “The simplest explanation in this case is that someone at UEA found it and released it to the wild and the release of wasn’t because of some hacker, but because of a leak from UEA by a person with scruples.”

Bottom line: lax security, combined with UEA’s own FOIA refusals, likely caused the FOIA officer to leave a file with the emails (that he gathered for an anticipated FOIA release) left in the open on the server, and it was accessible withing the UEA network. Our leaker, the person with the opportunity and the means, saw the file, and realized what a hot potato he had, and dumped it on the Russian Warez server. Then he made anonymous postings using a proxy server on various climate blogs to advertise the availability of the file. It was simple obfuscation using publicly available tools and apparently effective enough that the Norfolk police never figured out his identity, and closed the investigation.

This isn’t James Bond MI-6 level stuff, this is the sort of thing computer game players who don’t want to pay licenses fees and script-kiddies do every day on the web, no Russian help needed.

Mark Boslough should probably stick to asteroids.

via Watts Up With That?

November 6, 2017 at 09:51AM

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