“Covert” Operations by East Anglia’s CRU

Today brings news of the arrest of the managing director of a firm hired by the University of East Anglia’s CRU (Climatic Research Unit) to carry out “covert” operations – h/t reader Chu here). Neil Wallis of Outside Organisation was arrested today in connection with the spreading News of the World scandal.

Last year, Wallis’ partner at Outside Organisation , Alan Edwards, was profiled in Music Week in a story that led with:

Don’t tell the conspiracy theorists. But one PR company was at the centre of the Michael Jackson funeral, Climategate and Naomi Campbell’s appearance at Charles Taylor’s trial in The Hague.

Edwards is described as the “man who has also helped shape the careers of Amy Winehouse, Blondie, The Rolling Stones, Jimmy Cliff, David Bowie, Spice Girls, David Beckham, P Diddy, Kevin Pietersen and Shayne Ward” and the man who masterminded PR for Naomi Campbell’s trial. Outside Organisation’s handling of Climategate for CRU was described as “more covert”.

Less apparent is its work in the corporate field, where its activities tend to be rather more covert. [my bold]

“We don’t advertise a lot of the things we do,” says Edwards, who was called in by the University of East Anglia when Climategate blew up. “That was really interesting. It’s very high level, and you’re very much in the background on that sort of thing.”

The university’s Climatic Research Unit wanted Outside to fire back some shots on the scientists’ behalf after leaked emails from the unit gave climate change skeptics ammunition and led to an avalanche of negative press about whether global warming was a real possibility.


251 Comments

  1. Brent Buckner
    Posted Jul 14, 2011 at 2:59 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I see they used “leaked” not “hacked”!

  2. dearieme
    Posted Jul 14, 2011 at 3:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Well caught, Mr M. Very well caught.

  3. Posted Jul 14, 2011 at 3:08 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “They came to us and said, ‘We have a huge problem – we are being completely knocked apart in the press,’” says Sam Bowen. “They needed someone with heavyweight contacts who could come in and sort things out, and next week there was a front-page story telling it from their side.”

    Yes, it was just a communications problem. Glad they got it all sorted out.

  4. Posted Jul 14, 2011 at 3:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Wallis himself seems to have been central to the CRU op.

    Wallis led on the University of East Anglia “climategate” job, when Outside was drafted in to help the university’s Climatic Research Unit defend itself against charges of scientific misconduct.

    I guess when the UEA heard their communications had been hacked, they went looking for an expert to help them out.

  5. Michael Klein
    Posted Jul 14, 2011 at 3:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Be careful, Mr. McIntyre. You seem to be conflating the University of East Anglia with the News of the World scandal. But that’s not a valid assertion, and you shouldn’t even insinuate it. If Mr. X has associations with Mr. Y and Mr. Z, that does not prove Mr. Z had any hand in Mr. Y’s wrongdoings.

    • BillyBob
      Posted Jul 14, 2011 at 10:15 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Neil Wallis, deputy editor of the paper under Andy Coulson when it was alleged to have been engaged in mass acts of phone hacking, was paid by the Metropolitan police and advised Sir Paul Stephenson, the Met commissioner, and assistant commissioner John Yates during a period when the Yard rejected calls for the reopening of a criminal investigation into the interception of voicemails.

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jul/14/news-world-neil-wallis-met

      Fascinating.

      • Posted Mar 2, 2012 at 10:09 AM | Permalink | Reply

        The strange story of David Cameron riding the old police horse reminded me of something fairly damning I heard Alan Johnson, the former Labour Home Secretary, say about John Yates on BBC2 last night (only available for seven days):

        I feel pretty strongly about this. I was in post when the Guardian story broke about Gordon Taylor in 2009, I was the Home Secretary and looked John Yates in the eye and said “Look, what’s going on here”, and was assured, as my predecessors had, and others have in the past, was assured. I asked about John Prescott in particular, he’s my oppo in East Hull and I asked about John in particular. They said there’s no evidence that John Prescott’s phone had been hacked. It had and the evidence was there, we now know.

        It’s not looking at all good for Yates of the Yard at the moment. And his close links with Neil Wallis in those days remain, so far mostly unexplored.

    • tetris
      Posted Jul 14, 2011 at 10:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Micheael Klein
      I do not know that Steve M is “insinuating” anything at all in flagging this rather interesting development.
      Might I suggest to you the following, however, just by way of some questions that come to mind? Wallis was at that time also still under contract with the Metrolpolitan Police. Is there a possible link between that fact and the extraordinary lengths to which the East Anglia police went to be seen to be doing something while in fact doing very little? Might Wallis and Outside Organization also have a hand [behind the curtains, of course] in orchestrating and handling the PR of the several whitewashes that occured subsequently? Not too far fetched perhaps, I would say, given what we keep on finding every time a rock happens to get turned over.

      • Shona
        Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 7:20 AM | Permalink | Reply

        My opinion is that the EA police HAVE investigated this, but that the results have been suppressed. Interesting that UAE’s PR man was under contract with the MET.

        The MET is currently under investigation for corruption by NOTW staff. I really don’t want to contemplate the next idea that comes into my mind.

        Or maybe EAPD knew all this and kept it quiet because it’s just the tip of the iceberg and they are investigating the iceberg itself?

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 7:47 AM | Permalink

          I wonder how much Outside Organisation contributed to misdirecting the police about international security services, and thus the involvement of Counter-Terrorism officers.

          CA readers may recall that a Counter-Terrorism officer contacted me and other people who had submitted FOI requests asking about our views on climate change. Later I got an inquiry from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police agent for Interpol who wanted to know if I was the Stephen McIntyre referred to in the emails so that they could give my contact particulars to UK police. On the one hand, I resented the intrusion, but co-operated with their questions, the relationship of which to the inquiry seemed remote.

          I realize that reasonable people can disagree about whether the incident was a hack or a leak, but was there ever any reasonable grounds to involve Counter-Terrorism officers in the incident? Was Outside Organisation involved in pointing the police in that direction?

        • Henry
          Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 4:02 PM | Permalink

          So the connection is that Neil Wallis was (according to the Guardian) working part-time at the Metropolitan Police from October 2009 to September 2010 and advised Sir Paul Stephenson (the Met commissioner) and assistant commissioner John Yates (head of Specialist Operations, including Counter Terrorism).

          John Yates’s statement on phone hacking came in July 2009, before Neil Wallis worked at Scotland Yard.

          The CRU emails came out in November 2009 and Music Week reported in September 2010 that Neil Wallis had led on the University of East Anglia “climategate” job, suggesting perhaps that he may have been working for UEA and the Metropolitan Police at the same time.

      • Michael Klein
        Posted Jul 16, 2011 at 10:28 PM | Permalink | Reply

        You need to show me hard evidence before I take your allegations seriously.

        • Posted Jul 16, 2011 at 10:37 PM | Permalink

          Er, unless I’ve lost my grasp of English grammar those were questions (from tetris) not allegations. Sorry if they hit a sore spot.

    • Okes
      Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 2:49 AM | Permalink | Reply

      “Be careful, Mr. McIntyre. You seem to be conflating the University of East Anglia with the News of the World scandal. But that’s not a valid assertion, and you shouldn’t even insinuate it. If Mr. X has associations with Mr. Y and Mr. Z, that does not prove Mr. Z had any hand in Mr. Y’s wrongdoings.”

      Red herring. He is not asserting that the CRU or UEA had any hand in the phone hacking scandal (an accusation that is absurd on its face). Rather what is asserted is (my take):

      1: The CRU brought in an outside agency to do “covert” public relations operations during Climategate.

      2: This outside agency appears to have employed some, ahem, “ethically challenged” people.

      • Michael Klein
        Posted Jul 16, 2011 at 10:30 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Again,regarding allegation #1, where is your evidence?

        • Posted Jul 16, 2011 at 10:47 PM | Permalink

          It’s really important that you are able to read to join in this discussion. The second quote from Music Week given by Steve McIntyre starts like this

          Less apparent is its work in the corporate field, where its activities tend to be rather more covert.

          “We don’t advertise a lot of the things we do,” says Edwards, who was called in by the University of East Anglia when Climategate blew up. “That was really interesting. It’s very high level, and you’re very much in the background on that sort of thing.”

          There we have the word covert used of UEA calling in Outside Organisation when Climategate ‘blew up’. Please do go ahead and tell us what is wrong with the Music Week account or that of the local Norfolk press this week. We’re eager to have the full picture.

  6. Posted Jul 14, 2011 at 3:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Birds of a feather – I guess. I wonder if this explains where Sir David King obtained his ideas about the origin of the CRU emails? (broadcast on Newsnight by the BBC): ‘Let me also make this allegation for the first time in public. It’s an extraordinarily sophisticated piece of work to hack into all of these emails and mobile phone conversations, right?’ (see http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/24/bbc-botches-grade-school-co2-science-experiment-on-live-tv-with-indepedent-lab-results-to-prove-it/. Could King and the BBC have been briefed by Outside Organization? (who may have been rather familiar with the niceties of ‘information retrieval’!)

  7. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 14, 2011 at 3:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I understand there is more than one incident. However, until reader Chu pointed it out, none of us were aware that CRU had retained Outside Organisation to “fire back” at critics nor do we know precisely what services Outside Organisation carried out for CRU. Ross noted the following:

    They needed someone with heavyweight contacts who could come in and sort things out, and next week there was a front-page story telling it from their side.

    Remember the apparent disinformation about Russian intelligence agencies. 18 months later, there isn’t (to my knowledge) a shred of evidence for this theory. Nonetheless, this was fed into the press and quickly accepted as gospel by the climate science community. Remember Pierrehumbert’s fulminations at Dot Earth about this. And Andrew Weaver’s talk about international conspiracy. I wonder how much of this stemmed from Outside Organisation’s intervention.

    • Dave Dardinger
      Posted Jul 14, 2011 at 3:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

      I wonder how much of this stemmed from Outside Organisation’s intervention.

      Sounds like a job for Super-FOIA!

      • PJB
        Posted Jul 14, 2011 at 9:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

        I can hear the emails being deleted from here.

        • tetris
          Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 8:41 AM | Permalink

          Why would that be?

    • Posted Jul 14, 2011 at 4:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

      I wonder if this explains where Sir David King obtained his detailed notion of the origin of the CRU emails? (broadcast on Newsnight by the BBC): “Let me also make this allegation for the first time in public. It’s an extraordinarily sophisticated piece of work to hack into all of these emails and mobile phone conversations, right?” (see http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/24/bbc-botches-grade-school-co2-science-experiment-on-live-tv-with-indepedent-lab-results-to-prove-it/. Could Sir David and/or the BBC have been briefed by Outside Organization (and their special appreciation of advanced information retrieval)? (Apologies if this is a duplicate post – my first attempt went into moderation)

      • Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 1:59 AM | Permalink | Reply

        ZT Posted Jul 14, 2011 at 4:01 PM

        Quote David King:
        “Let me also make this allegation for the first time in public. It’s an extraordinarily sophisticated piece of work to hack into all of these emails and mobile phone conversations, right?”

        …and mobile phone conversations??

        News to me, where is this documented?

        • Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 2:11 AM | Permalink

          It’s easily explained if one sees it as reversal of the truth. If Wallis and co had been hacking mobile phones for real, then when asked how to blacken the names of the critics of CRU, what would they think of?

        • StuartR
          Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 3:16 AM | Permalink

          The phone hacking scandal was already in the news at that time, albeit at a lower pitch, so that could explain King mentioning it. I thought it would be worth posting the Newsnight link from WUWT here, he says it at about 6:40 in

          http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/8418356.stm

        • John Silver
          Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 5:07 AM | Permalink

          He says it at 7:10 exactly.
          Listen closely at the way he speaks, it could be from that TV show “Lie to me” with Tim Roth.

          David King must answer the question:
          Why did he mention mobile phone conversations?

        • ferd berple
          Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 9:07 AM | Permalink

          Why would David King mention the climategate emails and phone intercepts in the same sentence as though they were committed by the same person(s)? There were no phone intercepts associated with climategate. This is a huge coincidence if the firm hired by UEA to handle climategate is now found to be involved in phone intercepts. As the police say, there is no such thing as coincidence.

        • JEM
          Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 12:28 PM | Permalink

          The following is just the thinnest of dime-store-fiction rank supposition with not a shred of evidence behind it.

          Two alternate possibilities that connect the voicemail ‘hack’ (it’s hard to call access through a default password a ‘hack’, but it’s definitely unauthorized access) come to mind:

          a) UEA suspected that leakage through voicemail raiding of UEA passwords or other security details led to the Climategate release and wanted someone with expertise in the field to check it out, determine whether anyone who’d have such information was susceptible, or

          b) Someone associated with the post-release investigation thought that they might turn up some dirt on those they suspected of being involved in or benefiting from the release by poking around their voicemail

          This all assumes that involvement of the OO folks in such activity was an open-enough secret among members of the old-boy network that they could be found and engaged for the purpose.

          Once again, there’s no proof, nor yet any evidence, that any of the above occurred.

  8. j ferguson
    Posted Jul 14, 2011 at 3:54 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The astonishing thing here is that CRU would pay for something widely available for free: disinformation.

  9. intrepid_wanders
    Posted Jul 14, 2011 at 3:58 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I wonder how much influence Scotland Yard had over the Norwich investigation:

    “6.46pm: London mayor Boris Johnson was “furious” to learn today that Scotland Yard hired former News of the World deputy editor Neil Wallis as a consultant, says Sky News crime correspondent Martin Brunt.

    6.39pm: There’s an interesting comment on Twitter from MP Chris Bryant regarding the arrest today of Neil Wallis:

    “I had issued an FOI request to teh [sic] Met an hour ago on Wallis being paid by Met – is that why it’s out now?”

    6.25pm: Home secretary Theresa May has written to Met Police commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson to get “the full picture” regarding Neil Wallis, a Home Office spokesman said.

    Wallis, the former News of the World executive editor who was arrested today in the phone hacking inquiry, was employed to advise Stephenson and assistant commissioner John Yates from October 2009 to September 2010.”

    • Viv Evans
      Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 1:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Wallis, the former News of the World executive editor who was arrested today in the phone hacking inquiry, was employed to advise Stephenson and assistant commissioner John Yates from October 2009 to September 2010.”

      John Yates told the HoC Select Committee that he didn’t pay as much attention to the then (2009) inquiries into phone hacking because he had his hands full with investigations in regard to terrorists. IAW, he was the top policeman dealing with terrorism.
      Interesting link to Wallis, and down the line to Norfolk Police …

  10. j ferguson
    Posted Jul 14, 2011 at 4:14 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Might Wallis be supposed to have good working familiarity with hacking operations such that his expertise might be sought in connection with enquiries into an activity thought to be a hacking job?

  11. RayG
    Posted Jul 14, 2011 at 4:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Do I feel an FOIA request coming on for the contracts, statement of work and invoicing information?

  12. mpaul
    Posted Jul 14, 2011 at 4:58 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I think it’s problematic for public money to be used for this sort of thing – particularly when the “shots” are being directed at private citizens. It’s frankly pretty shocking that UEA would hire a firm like this.

    • Green Sand
      Posted Jul 14, 2011 at 5:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

      It’s frankly pretty shocking that UEA would hire a firm like this.

      I find it amazing that a so called “seat of learning” would need to know that such a “service” existed. Unless when the leak hit the fan they were advised of such capabilities?

    • Shona
      Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 6:50 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Wow, just wow. When you think your jaw has hit the floor, it just keeps coming.

      Why does King mention mobiles? Seemed odd at the time as there was never any suggestion at the time of anything other than e-mails and Harry read me.txt. Seems that was suggested by the ex-NOTW personnel.

      FOI on UAE to find out exactly what the PR company was hired to do and actually did.

      Any lingering respect for UAE as a scientific organisation I had has just gone out of the window. I thought it was just bungling, it seems this stuff went right to the top. (I imagine the PR guys didn’t come cheap, surely this was authorised at the Chancellor’s level?).

      I’m also beginning to wonder about the money aspect of this. Surely now we’re into the territory of protecting megabucks? They didn’t do this just to protect the egos of a few second rate academics. Who profits financially from this information being kept hidden enough to spend this kind of money? Also with the allegations of police corruption the strange failure of East Anglia police to report on the alleged “hacking crime” looks curiouser and curiouser. Why has the result of their investigation been kept quiet, who leaked the e-mails and why aren’t they prosecuting?

      Again, as so often in this saga, I thank Steve McIntyre: his tenacity has, frankly, saved our bacon on this. It’s hard to imagine now, but without his rigour, we would have known nothing of all this. One of the great scandals of our age.

      Lastly, it’s hard not to think of the Watergate adage, it’s not the misdemeanour that gets you, it’s the cover-up.

      • Steve McIntyre
        Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 7:02 AM | Permalink | Reply

        My, my. David King was a fount of disinformation and misdirection about the emails in that presentation, wasn’t he.

        He says that he was making an “allegation for the first time in public” – that it was an “extraordinarily sophisticated hack” into all the “emails and mobile phone conversations” and asks what “agencies” have for the “sophistication” to manage this. He claimed that the agency had been accumulating the emails since 1998 and released them on the eve of Copenhagen.

        He acknowledged that the conduct of the scientists was “unacceptable” – something that has never been done by the University nor, to my knowledge, on any subsequent occasion by David King.

        I agree that the reference to “mobile phone conversations” – of which there isn’t a shred of evidence and was not under discussion at the time = suggests (but doesn’t prove) a connection to Neil Wallis and Outside Organisation, as this surely seems like a specific embellishment that they would have added to the legend being disseminated to the climate science community and to the public.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 7:30 AM | Permalink

          Reader Pat at Bishop Hill dryly notes that Alan Edwards of Outside Organisation appeared at a festival at UEA in May 2010 dedicated to, among others, people who had “invented” stories:

          this is too precious not to post:

          7 May 2010: UEA: International gathering of story-makers at UEA
          A major festival bringing together award-winning writers, photographers and artists takes place at the University of East Anglia next month…
          We are bringing together those who have contributed to stories that have become important to audiences and readerships around the world and celebrating the University of East Anglia as a place where such stories are welcomed, as well as invented.”…
          Cosmopolis programme, June 5 2010:
          How to Make Your Music Heard – Drama Studio, 12.20pm
          Austin Wilde (creative director, EMI

          publishing) and PR guru Alan Edwards (CEO, The Outside Organisation) will discuss the ups and downs of a career in the music industry.
          http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/2010/may/storymakers

        • Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 8:06 AM | Permalink

          In a post-modern, relativistic academic world where “stories” and “narratives” take the place of truth, this is just so perfect.

        • Tom Gray
          Posted Jul 16, 2011 at 10:55 AM | Permalink

          In a post-modern, relativistic academic world where “stories” and “narratives” take the place of truth, this is just so perfect.

          This attitude has always puzzled me. Look at climate science as just one example. Isn’t climate science all about competing narratives. Each of the many sides is pushing its own narrative and trying to mask that narrative as unvarnished science. Post-modern analysis gives us the tools to understand just what is going on. it is all about politics and power. It is all about creating one’s own desired outcomes and using science as one of the many tools to accomplish that.

          Post-modernism allows us to understand just what is happening here and why this is so removed from how science is traditionally explained. Why are Steve McIntyre’s results so vehemently rejected by the climate science establishment. It is not because that are not true or useful. It is because they are true and useful but inconveniently true and inconveniently useful.

        • Posted Jul 16, 2011 at 7:17 PM | Permalink

          This use of deconstruction (not really post-modernism) is useful. What I was making fun of was the replacement of scientific theories with “narratives” and “stories” which are clung to because they are from the moral side (ie good guys) rather than because they have withstood critical tests.

        • Posted Jul 16, 2011 at 10:34 PM | Permalink

          Well put. Critical realism is what I’ve been taught to call it, both in philosophy of science and more widely. Stories are a key part of how any of us communicates and reinforces our world view, whatever it may be, and we don’t need the logical inconsistencies of post-modernism to appreciate that. As Roger Scruton said on the death of Derrida:

          He’s difficult to summarise because it’s nonsense. He argues that the meaning of a sign is never revealed in the sign but deferred indefinitely, and that a sign only means something by virtue of its difference from something else. For Derrida, there is no such thing as meaning – it always eludes us and therefore anything goes.

          That was in the Guardian, bless ‘em. But the key phrase is critical tests. That’s the only way to escape manipulation and self-deception and that’s what preserves science – or needs to do so.

  13. Posted Jul 14, 2011 at 5:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

    And there’s this additional little tidbit deep in the heart of the Edwards story (p. 25):

    The role of Neil Wallis, [the chap who was arrested today -hro] formerly editor of The People, deputy editor of The Sun and, most recently, executive editor of the News Of The World, is to lend heavy-hitting tabloid expertise,leading some jobs, following Edwards on others.

    “Most of my career has been spent working at the top end of tabloid newspapers, so I know how they work and how they think,” says Wallis. “This is not that different, actually. You have very creative people, you have fastmoving situations, you have to think on your feet.”

    Wallis led on the University of East Anglia “climategate” job, when Outside was drafted in to help the university’s Climatic Research Unit defend itself against charges of scientific misconduct.[emphasis added -hro]

    YMMV, but, IMHO, Wallis’s involvement puts an even darker complexion on this Outside “covert” operation!

  14. Peter S
    Posted Jul 14, 2011 at 5:55 PM | Permalink | Reply

    It’s also worth wondering if the Outside Organisation had a role to play in suggesting and setting up the Paul Nurse/Horizon programme. The UK media is an incestuous place and an onside BBC would likely have been more than willing to oblige. The programme, of course, is mostly remembered for its attempt to destroy another outspoken media voice in the Climategate scandal – James Delingpole.

  15. Posted Jul 14, 2011 at 6:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks, Steve.

    We live in interesting times.

    Thanks for all that you have done to get to the bottom of this mess.

    All is well,
    Oliver

  16. Posted Jul 14, 2011 at 6:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Yes, whose funds, authorized and distributed by whom, in what amounts, went to C.O. to disinform the world about Climategate?

    It may help account for the existence and persistence of a number of themes and memes, not least the “hacking of personal emails” one.

  17. Posted Jul 14, 2011 at 6:08 PM | Permalink | Reply

    wups, meant “O.O.”, not “C.O.” The words “Outside” and “Covert” are not usually or exactly synonyms.

  18. John Whitman
    Posted Jul 14, 2011 at 6:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The Nov 2009 CRU email release was the GOOSE and Outside’s involvement in PR cleanup for CRU is the SAUCE for the goose.

    The story is still unfolding,

    John

  19. Barclay E MacDonald
    Posted Jul 14, 2011 at 6:45 PM | Permalink | Reply

    You have to wonder how inextricably connected this may be with the Muir Russell panel and the press related to it. Was Alan Edwards called in before Muir Russell was approached or even before any such panel considered by UEA?

    • LC
      Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 7:27 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Indeed. Is it possible that the whole idea of holding two separate inquiries came from OO, knowing this would allow the subsequent blurring of the edges of the terms of reference and confusion over who was supposed to be investigating what?

  20. mark t
    Posted Jul 14, 2011 at 7:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Just when you thought things couldn’t get any better for UEA…

    Mark

  21. Rick Bradford
    Posted Jul 14, 2011 at 7:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Wasn’t there another ‘-gate’ somewhere where the initial wrongdoing proved to be secondary to the cover-up attempts….?

  22. pat
    Posted Jul 14, 2011 at 7:23 PM | Permalink | Reply

    in case online stories disappear, here’s some timeline info on when wallis left NoW, and how his Chamy Media period overlapped with his Outside Org period:

    1 May 2009: Guardian: John Plunkett: Neil Wallis to leave News of the World
    Executive editor Neil Wallis to leave News of the World in August, six years after joining as deputy…
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/may/01/neil-wallis-news-of-the-world

    14 July 2011: PR Week: Alec Mattinson: Outside Organisation MD Neil Wallis arrested in hacking investigation
    Wallis joined Alan Edwards’ Outside Organisation in October 2009 as a senior consultant…
    UPDATE: Chamy Media, owned by Neil Wallis, was contracted to provide strategic communication advice and support to the Metropolitan Police after he left the News of the World, it has emerged.
    http://www.prweek.com/news/1080238

    14 July: Channel 4: Arrested NoW man worked for Met and dined with top police
    Records show that his company, Chamy Media, was dissolved on 3 May of this year after less than two years in operation…
    http://www.channel4.com/news/arrested-now-man-worked-for-met-and-dined-with-top-police

    14 July: Channel 4: Arrested NoW man worked for Met and dined with top police
    The Metropolitan Police issued a statement explaining Mr Wallis’s business relationship with the force…
    “…The contract ran from October 2009 until September 2010, when it was terminated by mutual consent…
    http://www.channel4.com/news/arrested-now-man-worked-for-met-and-dined-with-top-police

  23. R.S.Brown
    Posted Jul 14, 2011 at 7:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve, just take a moment to think about:

    The employment of Neil Willis, former Managing Director of the Outside Organisation
    and also now former News of the World director as a consultant to both Scotland
    Yard and the Metropolitan Police.

    Then, consider those positions together with his professional relationship with his former
    supervisor, Andy Coulson at News of the World. Andy Coulson until very recently worked for the
    British Prime Minster, David Cameron.

    It takes little, if any, imagination to join up the dots between Mr. Willis’s employment by
    the University of East Anglia’s (UEA) Climate Research Unit (CRU) and the spectacular
    failure of the East Anglia police in investigating the who, what, when and where of the
    unauthorized release of the Climategate materials.

    One wonders if there’s a paper or e-mail trail left behind to document Mr. Willis’s
    contract, advice, and other activities as they relate to UAE/CRU.

    East Anglia

  24. Posted Jul 14, 2011 at 8:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I’m more concerned that phone hacking is receiving more investigative rigor (or rigour, if you prefer), than the CRU leak. One would think that the apparent lack of honest and open science, related to what has been characterized as the greatest problem mankind has ever faced, would receive greater attention.

    Silly me.

    • Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 1:38 AM | Permalink | Reply

      It’s been woeful but on both counts. The phone hacking was ignored for years – it was only the hacking of the mobile of murdered teenager Milly Dowler that changed that utterly. The rigour in one area (I’m talking about the UK sort, just for once) will now flow into the other, courtesy of Mr Wallis and the passion of a certain Mr Gordon Brown, whose own child’s great misfortune received the Murdoch tabloid treatment a few years ago and who clearly hasn’t forgotten.

      Now Brown was misled on Himalayan glaciers and a few other things when he was PM. But don’t confuse that with his determination to get to the bottom of this issue now. He’s working for us, as are many outraged citizens.

      And this all started with that bastion of climate realism, The Guardian, on 4th July. Eleven days later and they’re all working for us. That really is something.

  25. Posted Jul 14, 2011 at 9:48 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Delicious! Lowlifes stick together, UEA and the News of the World.

  26. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 14, 2011 at 10:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

    One of the main elements of the disinformation campaign in early December was what may have been the planting of stories that blamed Climategate on Russian security elements. One of the pieces of “evidence” that supposedly pointed to “sophisticated” hackers was East Anglia’s claims to have had a “sophisticated” security system – a claim that seems to be viewed now as a fabrication. I wonder how much Outside Organisation had to with disseminating the idea of “Russian security services”.

    A key article was in the Daily Mail on Dec 5, 2009 by Marion Delgado and Will Stewart:
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1233562/Emails-rocked-climate-change-campaign-leaked-Siberian-closed-city-university-built-KGB.html

    Suspicions were growing last night that Russian security services were behind the leaking of the notorious British ‘Climategate’ emails which threaten to undermine tomorrow’s Copenhagen global warming summit.

    An investigation by The Mail on Sunday has discovered that the explosive hacked emails from the University of East Anglia were leaked via a small web server in the formerly closed city of Tomsk in Siberia.

    Ben Webster of the Tmes also promoted the Russian angle a little bit earlier on Dec 3, 2009
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/copenhagen/article6941880.ece

    • JamesD
      Posted Jul 14, 2011 at 10:24 PM | Permalink | Reply

      One way to find out. FOI

      • Grant
        Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 3:20 AM | Permalink | Reply

        JamesD says “There’s one way to find out”. Perhaps there is another way.
        The police presumably will have followed up the Russian hacking angle. I wonder if they were formally asked whether they would release their findings now.
        A failure to release might be viewed as unhelpful to their position.
        Clearly they must know by now if the Rusion angle was a deliberate misdirection. Silence makes them a party to any deception should this later be proven.
        In any event, a formal request might elicit an interesting answer.

        • TerryS
          Posted Jul 16, 2011 at 7:55 AM | Permalink

          I submitted a FOIA request to the Police back in early 2010 and got this reply:

          With regards to whether any other territorial Police Forces within the UK or overseas are involved, and what any such Forces may be doing if they were to be involved in the investigation referred to, the Norfolk Constabulary will publically neither confirm nor deny that any information relevant to parts 2 and 3 of your request is held, by virtue of the application of the following exemption which waives our duty to comply with Section 1(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act:
          • Section 30(3) – Investigations and Proceedings

    • j ferguson
      Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 5:53 AM | Permalink | Reply

      The night that the file appeared at Jeff ID’s blog, it had a “.ru” URL

      • Keith W.
        Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 12:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

        J, all that means is that that link was on a Russian server. The Russian internet is also home to about fifty percent of the spam mail you receive every week. Anyone can go and went site space for a nominal fee, and you can pay the fee in several anonymous ways.

        Actually, the very first download link (the “A miracle has occurred” post here at ClimateAudit) was from the RealClimate server. Are you suggesting that the RC guys are involved?

        • j ferguson
          Posted Jul 16, 2011 at 5:22 AM | Permalink

          Keith W.
          “Actually, the very first download link (the “A miracle has occurred” post here at ClimateAudit) was from the RealClimate server. Are you suggesting that the RC guys are involved?”

          I’d assumed ignorance of what you write about on the part of the PR folk, and “ru” does suggest Russia. It ought to be possible to discuss disinformation without anyone assuming one buys it, don’t you think?

          No on RC involvement.

      • Steven Mosher
        Posted Jul 19, 2011 at 12:17 AM | Permalink | Reply

        yes.

        The file was hosted on a proxy server in russia and the comment came from a saudi proxy server.
        upon learning about this my reply was “crap, some moron will try to connect this to Oil”

        When the british press did and suggested the involvment of the russian security agencies, the Russians responded by saying words to this effect ” we know where the file was uploaded from, we suggest you shut up or we will reveal it”

        words to that effect. and the russian diversion was dropped from british coverage.

        as i recall.

        • Walt Man
          Posted Jul 19, 2011 at 12:26 PM | Permalink

          yyour source for this unsubstantiated statement is????

        • HaroldW
          Posted Jul 19, 2011 at 1:31 PM | Permalink

          Perhaps Mr. Mosher is remembering this article:

          A Russian intelligence source claimed the FSB had new information which could cast light on who was behind the elaborate operation.

          ‘We are not prepared to release details, but we might if the false claims about the FSB’s involvement do not stop,’ he said. ‘The emails were uploaded to the Tomsk server but we are sure this was done from outside Russia.’

        • Steven Mosher
          Posted Jul 19, 2011 at 5:33 PM | Permalink

          Thanks Harold, i’m usually able to recall things verbatim and when I can’t I try to get as close as I can, thanks for finding it.

        • Steven Mosher
          Posted Jul 19, 2011 at 5:31 PM | Permalink

          hey Walt? you were saying?

  27. Posted Jul 14, 2011 at 11:44 PM | Permalink | Reply

    from their web site:
    Neil Wallis’ experience in national newspapers needs little introduction. He worked for News International from 1986, rising to become Deputy Editor of The Sun and took up the editorship of The People in 1998. He was appointed Deputy Editor of the News of the World in 2003 and became Executive Editor of the paper 2007. Neil became a freelance media consultant to Outside in 2009.

    Just a consultant not a director

    • Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 12:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

      “My colleague Marina Hyde tweets: Outside Organisation website 9am Neil Wallis ‘Managing director’. Outside Organisation website 11.30am Neil Wallis ‘Freelance consultant’.”

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/blog/2011/jul/14/phone-hacking-scandal-live-coverage#block-41

    • Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 12:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: thefordprefect (Jul 14 23:44), Maybe a little digging is i order…
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_Wallis

      Journalism

      Wallis worked for News International from 1986, rising to become Deputy Editor of The Sun from 1993-8.

      He left in 1998 and took up the editorship of The People.

      In 2003, he moved to become Deputy Editor of the News of the World, and in 2007 he became Executive Editor of the paper. In May 2009, he announced that he would be leaving his post later in the year.[2]

      Wallis is a former member of the Editors’ Code of Practice Committee at the Press Complaints Commission.[3]
      [edit] Public relations

      He then worked for the Outside Organisation, a company specialising in public relations,[4] becoming Managing Director in 2010.[5] Wallis’ own company, Chamy Media, provided “strategic communication advice and support” to the Metropolitan Police on a part-time basis from October 2009 to September 2010 whilst the Met’s Deputy Director of Public Affairs was on extended sick leave.[6][7]

      Did they get it wrong? Was he just a consultant? If so maybe a correction should be submitted — consider doing it.

      • Cumbrian Lad
        Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 3:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

        The definitive answer to whether Wallis was an ‘officer’ (i.e. director or company secretary) is found in the Companies House filings of this UK Company. Outside Organisation’s filings for 2009, 2010 and 2011 show that there is only one Director (Alan Edwards) and he is also the only shareholder. So Wallis has not been a director as recognised by Companies House for at least the last three years. The company secretary is an Alexis Grower. Those are the only two officers.

        It is worth noting that the title ‘Managing Director’ is not specifically recognised by Companies House but is a commonly used honorific. OO seem to bandy titles around rather loosely. If they have a ‘board’ it technically consists of the two people named above.

        • Cumbrian Lad
          Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 4:21 PM | Permalink

          A bit of further digging brings up a ‘Media Week’ article describing Neil Wallis’ appointment:

          http://www.mediaweek.co.uk/news/1002676/Outside-Organisation-hires-consultants-plug-staffing-gap/

          An extract:

          “But the well-respected Wallis has now joined Outside as senior consultant. As well as his stint as executive editor of News of the World, he has also been deputy editor of The Sun and editor of The People. Wallis will advise the agency’s clients on crisis management, but he will retain his own business and clients separately from the agency. He has worked with the Outside since last autumn, but his appointment has now been formalised.

          Taylor Herring account director Lesley Land has also been drafted in to head the consumer division. Wallis and Land will sit on the management team, alongside music director Chris Goodman and CEO Alan Edwards.”

          The article is dated 13th May 2010 (post Climategate) but is involvement dates back to the previous Autumn and covers the Climategate period.

          So, he is not and has not been technically a director (officer) of that company, but did sit on the management team. So, not just a ‘freelance consultant’.

        • David S
          Posted Jul 18, 2011 at 2:33 PM | Permalink

          So he was calling himself a director and encouraging the press to call him the MD while not being a director at all. Can’t see his evidence will be much help to the inquiries, and it will be hard for plod to work out when to believe him. Just the sort of person that UEA needed to restore their reputation.

        • Posted Jul 18, 2011 at 3:11 PM | Permalink

          Can’t see his evidence will be much help to the inquiries, and it will be hard for plod to work out when to believe him.

          There are still some first-class investigators in the Met, whose job day-in and day-out is to ‘work out when to believe’ people, then find the evidence to back up their hunches. But this reminds me of another vital point: on Wednesday David Cameron annouced a full public inquiry into ‘Hackgate’ headed up by a senior judge, Lord Leveson. This is what Steve has argued many times was needed for Climategate. Something tells me that light shed on one part will do its bit towards achieving the other.

          Just the sort of person that UEA needed to restore their reputation.

          At the time it was ‘very high level’ and ‘covert’, so the morals and reputation of the person concerned didn’t matter. Now … well give it time. A slow-motion train crash is the image that comes to mind.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Jul 18, 2011 at 3:47 PM | Permalink

          Sean Hoare, the whistleblowing reporter, was just found dead !?!
          http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2016132/Sean-Hoare-News-World-phone-hacking-whistleblower-dead.html

        • Posted Jul 18, 2011 at 3:59 PM | Permalink

          Discussed here.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Jul 18, 2011 at 4:14 PM | Permalink

          Former company executives and political aides assert that News International executives carried out a campaign of selective leaks implicating previous management and the police.

          Sure sounds like East Anglia’s attempt to smear Paul Dennis.

        • Posted Jul 18, 2011 at 4:53 PM | Permalink

          The fact Hoare was a showbiz reporter – and a very good one, because his addiction problems – is another link with Edwards and Outside. He will be sorely missed by the hackgate inquiries, as they’ve just emphasized on Newsnight.

        • Posted Jul 18, 2011 at 4:56 PM | Permalink

          I meant before his addiction problems, though the mistake is interesting from a Freudian point of view, given the well-known proclivities of Fleet Street.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Jul 18, 2011 at 5:12 PM | Permalink

          http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14181344

          Yates, the policeman who hired Neil Wallis, resigned saying:

          Mr Yates said in a statement: “Sadly, there continues to be a huge amount of inaccurate, ill-informed and on occasion downright malicious gossip published about me personally. “This has the potential to be a significant distraction in my current role as the national lead for counter terrorism.

          As I reported last year, I was interviewed by a Counter Terrorism officer who had been seconded to Norfolk Constabulary to work on the East Anglia emails. I wonder if Neil Wallis had any involvement in getting Counter Terrorism officers working on East Anglia emails rather than Al Qaeda or such.

          I’m not up-to-speed on all the UK commentary: did Yates do anything more than hire Wallis?

        • Posted Jul 18, 2011 at 5:34 PM | Permalink

          did Yates do anything more than hire Wallis?

          Much more. It was Yates who was asked to review the earlier investigation into NOTW hacking by Andy Hayman (who now works for News International) and only spent eight hours on that before declaring it all kosher. There was also some useful background from Paul Watson in tonight’s Newsnight, highlighting a pub where Paul Stephenson (certainly) and Yates (I think) regularly used to drink with senior NOTW people and exchange pleasantries.

        • Posted Jul 18, 2011 at 6:14 PM | Permalink

          The other thing being reported by the BBC tonight is that Yates found a job for Wallis’s daughter at the Met and that she still works there. “The two men have known each other for many years,” as an earlier profile has it.

        • Posted Jul 18, 2011 at 7:43 PM | Permalink

          (In this thread Met no longer means the people in Exeter who fail to forecast our weath and the IPCC no longer has climate in the name, as we adopt the usage of most Londoners, please note!)

          Some amendments to what I wrote earler about tonight’s Newsnight, which is now on iPlayer. It was Richard Watson reporting, not Paul (another Newsnight reporter – are they brothers?), based on a ‘former, very senior police source’. It was a wine bar (of course), not a pub, in the West End that was the meeting place. Paul Stephenson, John Yates and the Met’s head of media regularly drank with NOTW journalists there (Wallis not being specifially mentioned by Watson), with whom they were ‘incredibly close’. This was the culture prior to Wallis leaving the NOTW and presumably goes some way to explaining how he and his daughter ended up working for the Met.

          John Yates went on in April 2009 to head Specialist Operations, which includes Counter Terrorism Command. If Wallis used his friendship with Yates to arrange for the involvement of counter-terrorism after Climategate, that would be dynamite. What a glorious own-goal.

  28. John Walker
    Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 1:56 AM | Permalink | Reply

    FOI:

    http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/covert_operations_by_east_anglia

    • Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 2:30 AM | Permalink | Reply

      I wonder if the personal details included in my FOIA request to UEA/CRU for the confidentiality agreements between CRU and three of the countries in Steve’s list were passed to Outside Organisation. They certainly passed them to the Norfolk Police, who interviewed me as a suspect in the ‘hacking’ investigation.

      How would I frame an FOIA request to discover that?

      • TerryS
        Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 3:37 AM | Permalink | Reply

        You dont frame a FOI request for that. You submit a DPA request (Data Protection Act).
        The information you are requesting is about your personal information so you simply ask the UEA for copies of all documents that contain identifiable information about you. This should include any emails and documents passed on to third parties.
        You can also submit a DPA request to “Outside”. It doesn’t matter that they are a private company, they still have to comply with the request.

      • Steven Mosher
        Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 11:46 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Do it tallbloke..

    • Cassio
      Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 10:40 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Regarding FOIA requests, is it not the case that a public body is not required to answer questions.

      I recall UEA making this point clearly when refusing to answer questions included in a previous FOIA request.

      Better to ask for documents that reveal the answers. Unfortunately in the case of “Who ordered such and such …” the evidence is often not recorded.

  29. John Walker
    Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 3:09 AM | Permalink | Reply

    @tallbloke

    You could try Subject Access Requests to the police, UEA and Outside Organisation:

    http://www.ico.gov.uk/for_the_public/personal_information/how_manage/access_info.aspx

    but that may not show who passed your details on.

  30. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 5:22 AM | Permalink | Reply

    This might not be relevant. At the time of Climategate, there were some Russian cities like St Petersberg that were favoured by hackers with the ability to direct wire calls by header choices through designated exchanges. The slow old cog and reel trace system allowed at least one crime to go unresolved because of a later inability of authorities to determine if the call was either voice or data and they needed proof that it was one of those. At the time, some serious hackers would have at least had the knowledge that an odd property of a Russian exchange could focus interest on that exchange, both for the act of hacking and for putting people off the scent when following hacker trails. Hypothesis: Russia = diversion.

  31. John Walker
    Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 5:37 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I agree with Geoff Sherrington. This is most likely to have been an inside job and the stuff was leaked, not hacked.

    This Russian business is a diversion.

  32. Alexander K
    Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 6:34 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I am reminded of the old saying, ‘British justice is available on the same basis as dinner at the Ritz’ and that serving members of the London Metropolitan Police have been collectively known by generations of native Londoners as ‘The Filth’.
    None of these discoveries excessively surprises me; when I arrived in the UK almost a decade ago, I looked at the London newspapers to see which I would choose to read. The News of the World was rejected immediately on the grounds that the tone was both overly sensational and unnecessarily prurient for my tastes.

    • j ferguson
      Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 7:07 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Ah, necessarily prurient?

  33. Chu
    Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 7:31 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Interview: Rav Singh talks about new move

    http://tiny.cc/rhl2r

    “Ex-News Of The World and Reveal showbiz editor, Rav Singh has confirmed to BizAsia.co.uk that he has joined PR company, Outside Organisation as Special Project Consultant. We caught up with the man in the know about his new career move and his former work.”

    “I knew I wouldn’t be at the News Of The World for the rest of my journalistic career. I was at News International for 10 years which included my time at The Sun.
    That’s a good innings in any book.

    I had some fantastic times while I was there under the editorship of Andy Coulson when we swept the board at the Press Awards.

    Every PR used to worry when we rang them on Saturday when we were going to press as we normally had a huge story about their client.”

    “With Outside Organisation you are scouting for Asian talent, which is a new territory to what you are known for, so could you be representing Bollywood stars in months to come too?
    If there is one company who can do it, it’s definitely Outside. We represent everything across the board. For example: University of East Anglia (Climategate), Richard Desmond’s bid and purchase for C5.”

    Interesting.

  34. Shona
    Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 7:36 AM | Permalink | Reply

    My opinion is that the EA police HAVE investigated this, but that the results have been suppressed. Interesting that UAE’s PR man was under contract with the MET.

    The MET is currently under investigation for corruption by NOTW staff. I really don’t want to contemplate the next idea that comes into my mind.

    Or maybe EAPD knew all this and kept it quiet because it’s just the tip of the iceberg and plod is investigating the iceberg itself?

  35. Walt Man
    Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 8:54 AM | Permalink | Reply

    So lets see if I understand.

    The UEA (or as some would have it UAE!!!) is a small UK university with no real experience of handling media frenzies.

    UEA therefore used a company to help them get their message to the media.

    This was done.

    There is no proof of ANYTHING else.

    Person handling this M E D I A event possibly (not proven guilty in Law yet)allowed phone tapping (== computer misuse act in some respects ==illegal “liberation” of CRU emails) whilst in a previous occupation. (he’s not a director of the media company – just a consultant)

    Therefore by association all of UEA is corrupt and untrustworthy.

    Not only that but shortly after the Email hack the Russians were named as a possible instigator of the “liberation” by a right wing UK paper. This media facilitator is therefore totally responsible for the implication of the Russians.???!!!! And of course the UEA are therefore all comunists!!

    THIS IS ALL SUPPOSITION.
    Pathetic

    • Chu
      Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 9:52 AM | Permalink | Reply

      I think you are looking at this backwards. I was following the “News of the world” phone/computer hacking story and when Neil Wallis was arrested, I noticed the Guardian say that the Outside Organisation had changed his description on their website to remove that he was Managing Director. I thought that’s odd, to just do it and not release a statement or something. I then noticed on the same website a reference to Climategate, googling the “outside organisation” and “climategate” I found the interview about covert activies and the mention of climategate.

      Googling on the same terms brought up “Rav Singh” talking about climategate which linked back to the “News of the World”. None of this means anything except I thought I had an obligation to inform people here that the Outside Organisation is happy to give press interviews about an instruction they had to “fire back some shots on the scientists’ behalf”.

      Odd things turn up in google all the time, I could probably add completely random names like “Sienna Miller” or “Heather Mills” to some of the above search terms and find other odd things, but none of this proves anything about the UAE as you quite rightly say.

      • Steve McIntyre
        Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 10:31 AM | Permalink | Reply

        I, for one, appreciate your drawing the connection to our attention. Some of the responses from the university seemed at the time, and even more so, in retrospect, as disinformation and misdirection. The misdirection was “successful” in the sense that the idea of the Russian security services being involved was picked up by the climate science community.

        • Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 11:35 AM | Permalink

          Agree absolutely with the thanks to our friend whose name is so close to CRU! I concur with a commenter on Bishop Hill that the ‘poor Phil’ narrative in the weeks after Climategate also seemed the product of phony PR. He may have needed privacy but the public message should simply have been of contrition. This ‘scientist as victim’ is a major trope, as a one-to-one chat to Paul Nurse recently brought home to me. We can’t know who was responsible for all these false messages but until yesterday we didn’t know of the involvement of Wallis and Outside at all. Thanks, Chu.

        • Chu
          Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 2:04 PM | Permalink

          You’re welcome Steve, I don’t post often but have spent many hours enjoying your work.

          Strangely enough if you do google “Sienna Miller” with “Rav Singh” you find a list of articles written by Mr Singh on Sienna http://tiny.cc/w7wvw

          Trying “Heather Mills”, with the “Outside Organisation” you find that the Outside Organisation worked for her ex-husband during her bitter divorce battle http://tiny.cc/9ha7n

          And the oddest thing pops up with you try with the above celebrities with the News of the World http://tiny.cc/l3rzn

          Small world.

      • Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 8:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

        It proves to me that image was all they were concerned with, not “the greatest problem mankind has ever faced”.

        • Posted Jul 16, 2011 at 4:49 AM | Permalink

          It proves that to you but not to everyone and I think it’s worth seeing why. Once you believe that it is “the greatest problem mankind has ever faced” you don’t want anything to distract people from that. If that’s your mindset it’s quite reasonable to call in PR help given the negative impact of Climategate.

          It all depends whether the belief itself is rational. And it would help to assess that if I’d said what ‘it’ was that was being believed. But that lack of precision is a major part of the problem is this area and for once I’m going with the flow.

          One thing one can legitimately do is to revisit, as Steve has, the messages that very soon after Climategate broke were given out to the media and widely repeated. Some of these seemed misleading or unsubstantiated at best – and as far as I can see nothing has happened since to prove any of the questionable messages.

          But the other thing this drives home to me is how false belief (as I certainly see it) has this symbiotic relationship with the UK establishment. News International were until this week a key part of the establishment – thus both David Cameron and Ed Miliband appointed aides that were senior NI alumni, the police also felt to give part-time work to another and UEA did the same, at the very same time, to the same guy. This cheerful consensus about who was a ‘good chap’ was closely tied in with false belief about climate, which painted people like Steve and Ross as bad (and that since 2003 has been a key component of the belief system).

          That cosy consensus about who’s good and bad has just fallen apart spectacularly. And there’s a direct link with UEA through Wallis. It couldn’t get better than that, for me. Happy days.

        • Dr Slop
          Posted Jul 16, 2011 at 5:58 AM | Permalink

          I think we can all agree that keeping UEA’s face clean and making money out of subsets of other people’s data could both feature in a list of most difficult “problem[s] mankind has ever faced”.

        • Posted Jul 16, 2011 at 12:37 PM | Permalink

          I think it depends on whether that’s what they really believed. And I don’t believe that for a second.

        • Posted Jul 16, 2011 at 12:40 PM | Permalink

          One thing one can legitimately do is to revisit, as Steve has, the messages that very soon after Climategate broke were given out to the media and widely repeated. Some of these seemed misleading or unsubstantiated at best – and as far as I can see nothing has happened since to prove any of the questionable messages.

          While I certainly haven’t read very many of the CRU emails, I have definitely NOT seen any email that implies that these scientists were more concerned with the planet than with their own bottom lines.

        • Posted Jul 16, 2011 at 5:38 PM | Permalink

          My point was not about people inside CRU or UEA. It was about others who now hear about UEA hiring a PR company to help after Climategate. Not everyone will be persuaded by this news that the scientists are not sincere. I’m sure of that.

        • Posted Jul 16, 2011 at 8:30 PM | Permalink

          Understood. I guess I mis-read what you were saying.

        • Posted Jul 16, 2011 at 10:22 PM | Permalink

          My writing wasn’t that clear. I was really trying to get to the point where I could articulate something deeply felt but quite subtle about the relationship between ‘false belief’ and ‘the establishment’. Get that right and we’ll never need the word consp***cy again. (There again, what Bishop Hill highlights from Judy Curry and Jane Goodwin on IPCC consensus might just prove me wrong there.)

    • Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 10:49 AM | Permalink | Reply

      @Walt Man, Good point. By the way, which group of disgraced former tabloid journalists does your University employ on its covert operations?

    • Bernie
      Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 10:52 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Walt Man:
      I can see the need to be circumspect until more data is available on by whom, for what, when and for how much. Surely, you must allow the coincidence and the track record of the primary players is pregnant with possibilities. I do not understand the charge of “pathetic”?

    • Duster
      Posted Jul 16, 2011 at 12:34 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Walt Man
      Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 8:54 AM | Permalink | Reply

      So lets see if I understand.

      The UEA (or as some would have it UAE!!!) is a small UK university with no real experience of handling media frenzies.

      UEA therefore used a company to help them get their message to the media.

      A bit of fact checking:

      UEA has a population of a little more than 13,000 undergraduates according to their web site. In comparison UCLA has 26,000+, Oxford – about 11,000, and Cornell ca. 14,000. UEA is thus not particularly “small” as universities go, more average sized as far as reputable universities go. So, being “small” is not an explanation for their choice in PR help. More to the point, there is evidence other PR consultations in the CRUgate data – there really is a great deal more in that zip file than email and “HARRY_READ_ME.txt” There is for instance a pdf pamphlet example from Futerra, an international PR company that focuses on advise to “green” and “sustainable” businesses. So, apparently someone at UEA had some previous knowledge of PR firms and their services.

      The Futerra pamphlet lays out tactics to the “Climate Change Working Group” for communicating the necessity of making policy and governance changes to deal with climate change. The work appears top have been funded by one or more UK government agencies according tho information on the pamphlet. One intriguing quote:

      “…2. Forget the climate change detractors. Those who deny climate change science are irritating, but unimportant. The argument is not about if we should deal with climate change, but how we should deal with climate change….”

      It is notable that the policies of Who gets to post and respond at RC tend to match Futerra tactical advice to a degree.

  36. Alexander K
    Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 8:55 AM | Permalink | Reply

    J Ferguson –
    Point taken! :-)

  37. Shona
    Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 9:12 AM | Permalink | Reply

    “Walt Man
    Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 8:54 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The UEA (or as some would have it UAE!!!) is a small UK university with no real experience of handling media frenzies.

    UEA therefore used a company to help them get their message to the media.”

    Let’s see: the UEA is a small university, so it headed for a hugely expensive pr company more used to rock stars and models to protect its reputation for good science.

    It had a problem with (in its view) the perception of its ethics, so it hired ex-News of the World guys, which in the UK is/was part of what we call the gutter press. Max Clifford would have been a step up from these guys …

    It had a problem with openess and FOI, so it did this covertly.

    And you’re surprised that their academic reputation isn’t enhanced by this?

  38. Duncan
    Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 10:27 AM | Permalink | Reply

    So Steve, what odds would you put on your mobile phone having been hacked?
    Were you missing many messages around then?

    • mpaul
      Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 10:57 AM | Permalink | Reply

      I don’t think (I haven’t seen) any evidence to suggest that the Outside Organization was involved in hacking anything related to Climategate. I think the “story” here is that UEA used (presumably) public money to hire a firm known to be in the disinformation business to fire covert shots at private citizen skeptics. Imagine that the reverse had happened — had Exxon Mobile hired the Outside Organization to undertake a covert disinformation campaign to fire shots at the celebrity climate scientists — the press would be hyperventilating.

  39. Bad Andrew
    Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 10:54 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I think scientists should report what they did and how they did it, how to do it again and include all relevant information. No more, no less. PR firm hire just screams “notscience!notscience!notscience!”

    Andrew

  40. Genette
    Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 10:58 AM | Permalink | Reply

    It’s not just the profile of Neil Wallis that has been changed on The Outside Organisation’s website. It has been busy rewriting other pages to remove references to (former) managing director Neil Wallis.

    Here’s one example:

    Today’s version: http://outside-org.co.uk/2010/12/channel-5-outsources-press-office-to-the-outside-organisation/

    “Former Taylor Herring Publicist, Lesley Land will head up the Channel 5 press office, reporting into agency CEO, Alan Edwards. The Channel’s corporate PR will be overseen by Sam Bowen, the agency’s Director of Strategy.”

    Yesterday’s version: (via google cache): http://tinyurl.com/69hq4nk

    “Former Taylor Herring Publicist, Lesley Land will head up the Channel 5 press office, reporting into agency CEO, Alan Edwards. The Channel’s corporate PR will be overseen by Neil Wallis and Sam Bowen, the agency’s Managing Director and Director of Strategy respectively.”

  41. Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 11:07 AM | Permalink | Reply

    If a PR firm gets publicity for a movie star, arranges an exclusive interview, or issues a press release, all fine. But if a PR firm hired by a government (UEA is public Univ) does “covert” ops–is this what we allow gov entities to do? ANY cover ops sure does not sound good in this context. They sure didn’t do a press release for UEA.

    • Eric
      Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 11:25 AM | Permalink | Reply

      …covert ops to misdirect inquiries that might impeach their integrity.

      Your tax dollars at work. Uff da. This is becoming one massive example of the old saw that the cover up is worse that the crime.

  42. Barclay E MacDonald
    Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 11:57 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I agree with MPaul above, but on the other hand given the emotional, odious, us against them mindset in which skeptics were viewed, as indicated by the “leaked emails”, would hiring of Outside be a natural response for UEA to make??

  43. Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 9:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Sign me up!

  44. Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 10:55 PM | Permalink | Reply

    There sure is a lot of “chaff” on the radar screen.

    But SM’s point that hiring OO was not a middle management action to get some fair coverage of clumsy misstatements by gormless academics.

    It was to protect all the marbles.

  45. Posted Jul 15, 2011 at 11:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

    For those still coming up to speed with the character of the ‘Outside Organization’ UEA team. Alleged phone hacker Neil Wallis’ former employer, Andy Coulson, employed people who associate with axe murderers (details http://order-order.com/2011/07/15/axe-murder-steve-hilton-v-ed-lewellyn). Seems like Professor Edward Acton and the higher ups were prepared to be quite ‘forthright’ in their defense of their sensitive FOI avoiders.

  46. StuartR
    Posted Jul 16, 2011 at 3:53 AM | Permalink | Reply

    It seems that a regional Norfolk magazine “has discovered” this news as well ;-)

    Ex-News of the World man advised UEA over ‘climategate’

    They have got a quote from UEA as well.

    The UEA spokesman said: “The vice-chancellor sought communications advice from a large PR company following the unauthorised publication of emails from the Climatic Research Unit. The company assigned Neil Wallis to us for this purpose.”

    • StuartR
      Posted Jul 16, 2011 at 4:05 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Actually I retract my ironic wink there, to give EDP Norfolk their due, they have indeed “discovered” the fact that Neil Wallis had advised UEA by getting the quote. We only had the Music Week interview to go on up to now. Good work from the local press. I guess the nationals have bigger fish to fry.

      • Posted Jul 16, 2011 at 4:25 AM | Permalink | Reply

        They do have bigger fish to fry and that is understandable, with Rebekah Brooks and Les Hinton resigning from News Corp and Rupert Murdoch meeting with Milly Dowler’s family to apologise. It will take a while for the various inquiries to finish but at the end of that process Wallis will either be acquitted or found guilty of criminality – or perhaps unprofessional conduct. That is the point that the focus should shift back to UEA but it’s a fascinating thing to come out now.

        • StuartR
          Posted Jul 16, 2011 at 4:51 AM | Permalink

          Re: Richard Drake (Jul 16 04:25),

          Agreed. There is so much going in the media lately that surely this story will be one of the last crumbs picked off the table at the end of the pig-out :)

          For me 90% of the shock of this story remains in the fact UEA had hired a big show biz PR firm in the first place, the NotW connection is just the bizarre detail on top that was part of the serendipitsous detail that, as Chu says above, helped this fact to be discovered.

    • Posted Jul 16, 2011 at 10:18 AM | Permalink | Reply

      The UEA blithely employed Neil Wallis for ‘communications advice’. This was someone who at the time was working for the MET, is an ex-tabloid hack, is suspected of being involved in massive phone hacking activities, and was employed by the employer of ex-cons and axe murderer associates. I wonder who Penn State have engaged for their PR?!

    • StuartR
      Posted Jul 18, 2011 at 5:18 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: StuartR (Jul 16 03:53),

      Adam Vaughan Editor of the Guardian’s environment site has noticed this too, he tweets:

      Reading: #notw’s Neil Wallis advised UEA over hacked climate emails http://bit.ly/r39DfO #eg

    • Posted Jul 18, 2011 at 11:34 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Perhaps Wallis was also selling accelerated retirement advice? If it turns out that Acton was buying the placement of media disinformation, would this be a new low for the UEA? (or does Phil Jones still hold that distinction?) I guess we’ll have to wait for Wallis’ forthcoming memoirs.

  47. Faustino
    Posted Jul 16, 2011 at 6:01 AM | Permalink | Reply

    “Scotland Yard’s most senior officers tried to convince the Guardian during two private meetings that its coverage of phone hacking was exaggerated and incorrect without revealing they had hired Neil Wallis, the former deputy editor of the News of the World, as an adviser.

    “The first meeting in December 2009, which included the Metropolitan police commissioner Paul Stephenson, was two months after Wallis was employed by the Yard as a public relations consultant.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jul/15/phone-hacking-met-police-guardian

  48. Posted Jul 16, 2011 at 6:41 AM | Permalink | Reply

    On the Russians are behind Climategate campaign, it really lasted about two weeks and was never heard of again. Why you may ask? The counter move by the Russians was a classic of the cold war era.

    A hitherto obscure science academy announced that all the ground temperature data on the USSR had been heavily cherry picked to produce the requisite warming.

    You didn’t have to be a seasoned Kremlinologist to understand the message; Try and dump this on our doorstep and we’ll unload a shed load of your dirty little secrets.

    The campaign stopped straight away …

    Pointman

    • Posted Jul 16, 2011 at 8:14 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Could be the next Le Carré novel: “The Science that came in from the Warm”.

    • cosmic
      Posted Jul 16, 2011 at 5:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

      My impression of “The Ruskie Plot” was that given the fact that the emails appeared on a Russian server it was, on the surface a reasonable speculation for the naive about the internet and a promising PR focus for those hoping to sway the naive, and not much more clued up about the internet themselves. No doubt, as you say, it was hoped that memories of the Cold War would allow this to be easily swallowed.

      It was quickly dismissed unlikely in the blogosphere; Russian servers are notorious as hosts for kiddy porn and all sorts of illicit material and the Russian authorities had a history of not being particularly interested. If you wanted to make something of that sort public without a direct track back to you. it would be an obvious way to go. As you say, the Russian counter move, signalling that they did not want to be associated in this way with a particular bit of Western nonsense, clinched it and that line was not pursued.

      Climategate really has to have been an inside job by someone who couldn’t stomach the deceit any longer. See it as an inside job by someone very knowledgeable about the issues and the IT systems, and it becomes easy to understand. See it as hacking or a security lapse and all sorts of difficulties appear.

  49. Kip Hansen
    Posted Jul 16, 2011 at 9:37 AM | Permalink | Reply

    It will be interesting to see if an FOI request is required to get UEA to release the details of its contract with Outside Organization and all reports of their activities. Now that will make interesting reading.

  50. John Whitman
    Posted Jul 16, 2011 at 11:37 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The concern expressed in the MSM by the UK government that N. Wallis (through the various companies he was involved with) was doing PR business with the MET (police) and Scotland Yard is getting a lot of attention; rightly so.

    That Wallis was also doing business with UEA CRU has been occasionally mentioned. Other than the group of blogs that have closely followed Climategate, his involvement in East Anglia’s affairs isn’t being broadly focused on and investigated YET.

    For me it is very crucial whether the EA police were significantly and closely associated with Wallis as part of his employment by UEA CRU. I look forward to the inevitable auditing/probing of that area.

    After a year and a half, the significant lack of the EA police department’s reported progress needs to be evaluated now in a new more critical way. I expect the EAPD knows this focus on them will happen. I predict that we will get a more detailed report on their investigation into the UEA CRU Climategate affair VERY SOON.

    Cross posted on BH.

    John

  51. Barclay E MacDonald
    Posted Jul 16, 2011 at 1:55 PM | Permalink | Reply

    If UEA is a university with approximately 13,000 undergraduates, and important responsibilities relating to the collection, maintenance and distribution of World climate data, it is not unreasonable to expect and hope that it’s faculty and administration would proove to be examples for its students to emulate. But at the present there is little evidence at UEA of wisdom and intellectual leadership.

    I suspect that in a quest for wisdom at UEA, Diogenes has by now left the building. I hope for the sake of the many students and faculty that I am misinformed.

  52. Larry Hamlin
    Posted Jul 16, 2011 at 2:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

    It would seem that Mr. Wallis must have a computer with files going back many years that addresses his activities and assignments. The information on his computer should now be in the hands of the law enforcement officers. This information should be made available in time to the public or may have to be dealt with through FOI requests. Either way there is much information that needs to be brought into the open about Mr. Wallis and his work he performed for his clients.

  53. RB
    Posted Jul 16, 2011 at 3:12 PM | Permalink | Reply

    CRU gets a mention here, too:

    http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fembed%2FAybBEuIpy44&h=XAQATy29F

  54. Posted Jul 16, 2011 at 3:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The phone hacking NotW scandal was apparently assigned to a counter terrorism unit (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/17/world/europe/17police.htm?pagewanted=1&_r=1), and the climategate investigation was also being undertaken by counter terrorism officers (http://climateaudit.org/2010/02/01/the-first-inquiry-to-report/). I wonder if this is a coincidence – neither situation would necessarily seem like terrorism. Perhaps the established approach for doing nothing for the UK police is to assign the investigation to a counter terrorism unit?

    • James Evans
      Posted Jul 17, 2011 at 3:16 AM | Permalink | Reply

      I seem to remember some talk previously that the counter terrorism unit is FOI-proof. Have I misremembered that?

    • Posted Jul 17, 2011 at 4:22 AM | Permalink | Reply

      I don’t know for sure, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the counter terrorism unit has special powers to hack phones obtain telephonic communications without having to go through longwinded legal procedures.

      Which raises the question of just how phone messages and calls are ‘hacked’. Seems likely to me that the telephone companies can be required to pass information to police and security services. It seems unlikely that those people working for phone companies who have the access capabilities to fulfill those requirements are any more incorruptible than the population at large.

      There is silence in the UL media about just how people’s phones have been ‘hacked’. Could be by the cracking of passwords or the use of default passwords, but I think there is a possibility that just as the likelihood is that the CRU emails and data were copied by someone on the inside with access capabilities, the phone messages of individuals could have been copied and passed on by people with access capabilities rather than ‘hacked’.

      • Dr Slop
        Posted Jul 17, 2011 at 9:07 AM | Permalink | Reply

        In the past, phone operators have provided access to procedure calls which interact directly with the mobile infrastructure. Hence this amusing story (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2002/11/04/german_secret_service_taps_phones/) where iirc the procedure calls were based on the interfaces used for premium line reverse billing. Whether this kind of thing is the current MO for spooks, I don’t know.

        I believe the hacks of recent notoriety are all to do with the target’s voicemail being accessed. For that, it’s often sufficient to know the phone number and default voice mailbox password for the network in question.

        I doubt if the voice mailboxes of UEA staff would really have made for a high value prize, certainly compared to the richness of the email leak.

        • Posted Jul 17, 2011 at 10:29 AM | Permalink

          Dr Slop Posted Jul 17, 2011 at 9:07 AM

          I believe the hacks of recent notoriety are all to do with the target’s voicemail being accessed. For that, it’s often sufficient to know the phone number and default voice mailbox password for the network in question.

          I think that nails it; the Kevin Mitnick “social engineering” aspect may even have entered into it (seek out those who have the information and get it by various ‘tricks of psychology’).

          Hacking by heavy-techno means? Unlikely … sounds glamo BUT there are much easier means to get info (this brings Occams Razor into play).

          .

      • Posted Jul 17, 2011 at 10:21 AM | Permalink | Reply

        tallbloke Posted Jul 17, 2011 at 4:22 AM

        I don’t know for sure, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the counter terrorism unit has special powers to hack phones obtain telephonic communications without having to go through longwinded legal procedures.

        Which raises the question of just how phone messages and calls are ‘hacked’. Seems likely to me that the telephone companies can be required to pass information to police and security services. …

        Here in the US, the functionality of “wire tapping” was provided for in the infrastucture equipment (COs, the telco switch, etc.) via provisions spelled out in CALEA (Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act) providing intergral ‘features’ in the switch to monitor all aspects of ‘telephone calls’ (called party, calling party, a ‘stream’ of the on-going voice traffic) … pretty much anything an SS7 lonk would carry as shown to a transmission engineer using a T-BERD SS7 link (and PCM Analyzer) would show …

        ‘Privelege levels’ are set in the telco switch for (login) access to commands to monitor traffic and invoke a variety of commands related to maintenance and provisions, as well as a variety of (voice) ‘traffic’ functions; know your local head (chief) CO switch engineer (or MTSO switch engineer for the mobile comms) and ‘the world is your oyster’ as far as comms go …

      • ferd berple
        Posted Jul 17, 2011 at 11:05 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Virtually every security system in the world is designed with a “back door” or “supervisor code” to prevent accidental lockout and to facilitate maintenance access.

        For example, RSA public key encryption was fought be the US government until RSA agreed to modify the algorithm slightly. Now RSA public key encryption is the backbone of most security systems worldwide, the means by which the working keys are securely exchanged.

        The purpose of this modification is unknown, though it seems most likely it was to allow purpose built decryption devices held by the NSA to break the RSA codes.

        PGP encryption, which originally used the unmodified RSA algorithms and was leaked to the public domain, was fought with a vengeance by the US government at the time.

      • Steven Mosher
        Posted Jul 19, 2011 at 5:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

        yes, the brits ask their american counter parts for info and the US asks their counterparts in the uK for info on us.

        tallbloke we spy on you, and you spy on us and the spys exchange information and can say they did not engage in domestic spying.

        easy. not sure this happened in this case….

  55. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Jul 16, 2011 at 3:58 PM | Permalink | Reply

    All is quiet on the Warmist sites front. Look like they need a PR person to get their message out – somewhat similar to their comments on the climategate e-mails.

  56. Chu
    Posted Jul 16, 2011 at 5:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

    http://www.prweek.com/uk/news/1041077/Luxury-spa-group-Champneys-hires-Outside-Organisation-handle-consumer-PR

    “The Outside Organisation has been hired to develop and implement a full consumer PR campaign for the Champneys brand.

    The agency will concentrate efforts around the four UK-based spa resorts and seven town and city spas. It will use celebrity endorsements to position the brand as aspirational.”

    http://news.sky.com/skynews/Article/201009116031710

    “Sky News has learned of further links between the Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson and arrested former News Of The World executive Neil Wallis.
    >>>
    Sky News has now learnt that Sir Paul spent time at a health farm where Mr Wallis was working as a PR consultant.”
    >>>
    Sky’s Tom Parmenter said: “There is no suggestion at this stage that there is any overt wrongdoing between Sir Paul Stephenson staying at this health farm and their PR person being Neil Wallis.

    • Posted Jul 17, 2011 at 4:35 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Police commissioners employing phone hacking ex hacks staying at health farms promoted by the same phone hacking ex hacks where celebs hang out for freebies in return for endorsements while their phones get hacked?

      Where’s the News of the World when you need it? :)

  57. pat
    Posted Jul 17, 2011 at 4:22 AM | Permalink | Reply

    james evens -
    “I seem to remember some talk previously that the counter terrorism unit is FOI-proof”

    hope someone will check it out because i feel u r right.

    this story is so huge – so huge in fact the MSM can’t bear to mention it!

  58. bjorn eriksson
    Posted Jul 17, 2011 at 7:29 AM | Permalink | Reply

    What does this mean:”very high level”?
    “We don’t advertise a lot of the things we do,” says Edwards, who was called in by the University of East Anglia when Climategate blew up. “That was really interesting. It’s very high level, and you’re very much in the background on that sort of thing.”
    Any ideas?

    • Skeptical Chymist
      Posted Jul 17, 2011 at 10:22 AM | Permalink | Reply

      I’m afraid all it means is “at a higher intellectual level than the adultery of footballers”. It doesn’t mean that the Queen is involved.

      • Posted Jul 18, 2011 at 12:03 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Re: Skeptical Chymist (Jul 17 10:22): a false alternative I fear. The Queen doesn’t have to be involved for someone like Edwards to feel that the call to UEA was ‘very high level’. Given our celebrity culture and the kind of clients Outside was used to dealing with it’s a striking description. I think Bjorn’s question should be considered an open one and very good one.

        • Skeptical Chymist
          Posted Jul 19, 2011 at 5:02 AM | Permalink

          What is being quoted is a man advertising his company’s services. He doesn’t say that the “call” to work for UEA came from a “very high level”, he says the work itself was “very high level”. To me this only means a cut above the showbiz and celebrity puffing usually associated with PR companies.

        • Posted Jul 19, 2011 at 6:03 AM | Permalink

          I agree that Edwards, a PR man, is here attempting to ply his trade for his own outfit. That of course raises the question of whether anyone else with a need for ‘covert’ public relations will be inclined to entrust their case to a man who blurts out the sensitive details of another such client. Colour me highly amused at that.

          As background on my reading of the “very high level” I should perhaps say that I was engaged as a consultant by various large companies in the 1980s and 90s. Two relevant examples were Reuters in 1986 and RTZ Mining and Exploration in 1990. I mention those because in both cases I ended up with recommendations that were “high level” by my standards then and in the first case, after about sixteen months, this led to my abrupt departure from the organisation (though with a helpful payoff). That was all to do with the fact that the person who had engaged me for another six months to deal with the hot potato in question (in autumn 1987) was too low in the Reuters hierarchy for the job to be carried out effectively.

          With RTZ (Rio Tinto as they were then) I’d learned some lessons. Again I was reporting to someone (who I very much liked) who was too low down the food chain for the advice I had on how they needed to proceed to achieve the goals he’d been given for RTZ exploration worldwide. So with a month to spare I wrote a report with the head of exploration in mind – an Australian called John Collier (worth googling these days together with the name of arch Ozzie sceptic Ian Plimer) – and suggested to the startled chap I was working with day to day to pass it on to his manager and thus to Collier. Collier read it without a blink, wrote in the margin “looks pretty good” and expanded our budget to half a million pounds for 1991.

          The point is that if ‘very high level’ describes the work and the work was seen as successful then the people sponsoring the work must have been very high level. That’s my reasoning, from experience.

  59. tetris
    Posted Jul 17, 2011 at 1:55 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Paul Stephenson, Head of the London Metropolitian Police resigned this morning over having employed Wallis. Denies any wrongdoing.

    • John Whitman
      Posted Jul 17, 2011 at 2:17 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Does it make sense he resigned from the MET (police) even though he says he did nothing wrong regarding doing business with Wallis?

      NOT!

      John

  60. Hu McCulloch
    Posted Jul 17, 2011 at 2:23 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks. The appropriate place for such OT comments on CA is the latest “Unthreaded” thread. The current one is at http://climateaudit.org/2010/06/15/unthreaded-39/#comments .

  61. Chu
    Posted Jul 17, 2011 at 2:58 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Did anyone notice who’s sitting immediately behind Brooks and Coulson in the now famous clip from 2003?

    It certainly seems to be the same person who lead to the resignation of Sir Paul Stephenson.

    • Posted Jul 17, 2011 at 5:34 PM | Permalink | Reply

      That Commons Committee hearing was just two months after the Guardian wrote this about editorial musical chairs in the UK’s tabloids – just an everyday story of celebrity hacking and police bribing folk!

      Ciar Byrne
      Media Guardian,
      Friday 17 January 2003 1

      Neil Wallis, the editor of the People, has been poached by Rupert Murdoch’s News International to become deputy editor to Andy Coulson at the News of the World.

      The news that Wallis was jumping ship to work for its rival Sunday tabloid was greeted with “total shock” in the People’s newsroom.

      “Neil, who has been editor for five years, informed us today that he is to leave with immediate effect to take up the post of deputy editor of the News of the World,” said Mirror Group Newspapers in a statement.

      “Neil is a great editor and we are very sorry to see him leave the company. We wish him all the best in his new role,” added Mark Haysom, the managing director of the company’s national newspaper division.

      The appointment marks a return to Wapping for Wallis, who worked for News International for 12 years before becoming editor of the People in 1998. He held a number of senior positions at the company including deputy editor of the Sun.

      Coulson said he was “thrilled” to have Wallis on board as his deputy, and described him as “one of the finest newspapermen in the business”.

      “I’m delighted to be working with Andy and his team at the News of the World. I have no doubt there are exciting times ahead,” said Wallis.

      The People’s deputy editor, Alan Edwards, will edit the paper until a successor is appointed.

      Wallis’ departure follows a disastrous December ABC result for the People, with circulation falling 13.21% year on year 1,117,059 year on year, a drop of about 170,000 copies, thanks in part to the success of Richard Desmond’s newly launched Daily Star Sunday.

      The fall in circulation came despite a £2m revamp last August, when the tabloid changed its name from the Sunday People and introduced a 48-page standalone sports section in a bid to pre-empt the Star’s Sunday edition, which was launched the following month.

      Under Wallis the People has frequently got into hot water. TV presenter Keith Chegwin is threatening to sue the paper over its splash two weeks ago on his plans for a TV series reuniting celebrities with their first cars.

      Wallis invoked the fury of his colleagues on the Daily Mirror in September when he splashed with a story claiming TV presenter Carol Vorderman had been rushed to hospital with a mystery illness, despite the fervent denials of her partner Des Kelly, the Mirror’s deputy editor.

      Radio 1 DJ Sara Cox and her husband are still contesting their case for damages for invasion of privacy against the People after it published nude photographs taken during their honeymoon.

      In August 2002 the newspaper was forced to apologise to Frank Skinner and to make a donation to charity after alleging that he had secretly visited a cosmetic surgeon to receive Botox injections.

      Last May Wallis became embroiled in a row with celebrity PR Max Clifford after the paper printed a story about Westlife star Bryan McFadden’s one-night stand with a lap dancer just weeks before his wedding to former Atomic Kitten Kerry Katona.

      The lap dancer in question, Amy Barker, had signed a confidentiality clause with McFadden’s management.

      In April 2002 the People paid a “substantial” sum in damages to a woman it wrongly accused of stalking pop singer Robbie Williams.

      However, things looked up for the newspaper last March when an appeal court judge overturned an earlier court ruling preventing the paper from revealing the extra-marital affairs of Premiership footballer Gary Flitcroft.

      Wallis hailed the decision as an “historic victory” for press freedom.

      His move to the News of the World is the latest in a merry-go-round of tabloid job swaps. On Monday it was announced that former News of the World editor Rebekah Wade was taking over from David Yelland as editor of the Sun.

      Wade’s former number two, Andy Coulson, replaced her as editor of News of the World.

      Another former News of the World editor, Phil Hall, joined Trinity Mirror last week as editorial development director of the company’s national newspaper division.

      ——-

      Death thoes of the dying print media. Long live the internet!

  62. R.S.Brown
    Posted Jul 17, 2011 at 4:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

    A Simple Twist of Fate ?

    This Sunday has involved a series of curious events:

    http://apnews.excite.com/article/20110717/D9OHIAL82.html

    Ex-Murdoch aide Rebekah Brooks arrested in hacking

    Jul 17, 2:09 PM (ET)

    By JILL LAWLESS

    LONDON (AP) – Rebekah Brooks, Rupert Murdoch’s former British newspaper chief, was arrested Sunday on suspicion of phone hacking and bribing police, only 48 hours before both of them were to be grilled by U.K. lawmakers investigating widespread lawbreaking at a Murdoch tabloid. [emphasis added]

    And in a follow-up a couple hours later:

    http://apnews.excite.com/article/20110717/D9OHJC2O0.html

    Jul 17, 3:20 PM (ET)
    By JILL LAWLESS

    On Sunday she showed up for a prearranged meeting with London police investigating the hacking and was arrested. She was being questioned on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications – phone hacking – and on suspicion of corruption, which relates to bribing police for information.

    Brooks’ spokesman, David Wilson, said police contacted her Friday to arrange a meeting and she voluntarily went “to assist with their ongoing investigation.” He claimed that Brooks did not know she was going to be arrested.
    The arrest threw Brooks’ appearance at Tuesday’s parliamentary hearing into doubt.

    “Obviously this complicates matter greatly,” Wilson said. “Her legal team will have to have discussions with the committee to see whether it would still be appropriate for her to attend. ” [emphasis added]

    Lawmaker Adrian Sanders said if Brooks did not appear, “that is not going to go down very well with my fellow committee members.”

    …and then according to the timeline of events Jill Lawless is relates:

    Hours later , the resignation of Britain’s most senior police officer, Paul Stephenson, who quit over his links to an arrested former editor [ Neil Wallis ] at the same Murdoch’s tabloid that Brooks once edited, was the latest shock in a scandal engulfing Britain’s political and media elite. [emphisis added]

    Golly, gee. Too bad. It looks like our Ms. Brooks won’t be voluntarily giving
    information before members of Parliament as that information might, perhaps, relate
    to Mr. Wallis, Mr. Edwards, Mr. Stevenson, Mr. Coulson, the Messrs. Murdoch, Prince
    Charles, the Prime Minister, or any person or institution she or they have had personal
    or professional or personal contact with in the past few years.

    To cast pre-industrial terminology into a post-normal situation, Paul Stevenson
    has “fallen on his own sword” to better serve and save the Empire.

  63. pat
    Posted Jul 17, 2011 at 6:44 PM | Permalink | Reply

    the local norfolk newspaper, Eastern Daily Press, which covered wallis and UEA (only to give cover) is owned by a big media company called Archant. here’s the Board:

    Richsrd Jewson, Chairman
    He is HM Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk and also Chairs the Council for the University of East Anglia.
    Richard chairs the remuneration and nominations committees
    Adrian Jeakings Chief Executive
    He is a governor of Norwich School and a member of the Audit Committee of the University of East Anglia…
    Mike Walsh Director
    He has had extensive involvement in the charity sector as Worldwide Board member of WWF, Vice Chairman of the British Red Cross, and completed his six-year term as Chairman of the UK Disasters Emergency Committee in March 2011.
    http://www.archant.co.uk/about_board.aspx

    Archant Publications
    Archant hosts around 180 websites to support its publications, from the award-winning EDP24…
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  64. R.S.Brown
    Posted Jul 17, 2011 at 9:17 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve/mods,

    Did my previous comment “A Simple Twist of Fate” get lost in transmission
    or did it die somewhere in moderation ?

    Here it is again… with a few additions.

    A Simple Twist of Fate ?

    This Sunday has involved a series of curious events:

    http://apnews.excite.com/article/20110717/D9OHIAL82.html

    Ex-Murdoch aide Rebekah Brooks arrested in hacking

    Jul 17, 2:09 PM (ET)
    By JILL LAWLESS

    LONDON (AP) – Rebekah Brooks, Rupert Murdoch’s former British newspaper chief, was arrested Sunday on suspicion of phone hacking and bribing police, only 48 hours before both of them were to be grilled by U.K. lawmakers investigating widespread lawbreaking at a Murdoch tabloid. [emphasis added]

    And in a follow-up a couple hours later:

    http://apnews.excite.com/article/20110717/D9OHJC2O0.html

    Jul 17, 3:20 PM (ET)
    By JILL LAWLESS
    On Sunday she showed up for a prearranged meeting with London police investigating the hacking and was arrested. She was being questioned on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications – phone hacking – and on suspicion of corruption, which relates to bribing police for information.

    Brooks’ spokesman, David Wilson, said police contacted her Friday to arrange a meeting and she voluntarily went “to assist with their ongoing investigation.” He claimed that Brooks did not know she was going to be arrested.
    The arrest threw Brooks’ appearance at Tuesday’s parliamentary hearing into doubt.

    “Obviously this complicates matter greatly,” Wilson said. “Her legal team will have to have discussions with the committee to see whether it would still be appropriate for her to attend. ” [emphasis added]

    Lawmaker Adrian Sanders said if Brooks did not appear, “that is not going to go down very well with my fellow committee members.”

    …and then according to the timeline of events Jill Lawless is relates:

    Hours later , the resignation of Britain’s most senior police officer, Paul Stephenson, who quit over his links to an arrested former editor [ Mr. Neil Wallis ] at the same Murdoch’s tabloid that Brooks once edited, was the latest shock in a scandal engulfing Britain’s political and media elite. [emphasis added]

    Golly, gee. Too bad. It looks like our Ms. Brooks won’t be voluntarily
    giving any information that might be used against her in a court of law
    to members of Parliament as that information might, perhaps, relate to
    Mr. Wallis, Mr. Edwards, Mr. Stevenson, Mr. Coulson, the Messrs. Murdock,
    Prince Charles, the Prime Minister, or any person or institution she has
    had personal or professional or personal contact with in the past few years.

    Did she know anything about UAE/CRU leaks, their covert PR programs,
    the East Anglia police non-investigation, and the subsequent FOI blocking
    through the efforts of Edwards or Wallis ? Go fish. She won’t be asked
    and she sure won’t volunteer anthing along those lines.

    Along with cell phone hacking and police bribery, the arrest of Ms. Brooks
    bollixed up the first round of Parlimentary hearings on some of these
    nefarious wrong doings.

    To cast pre-industrial terminology into a post-normal situation, Sir Paul
    Stevenson has “fallen on his own sword” to better serve and save the
    Empire.

  65. RayG
    Posted Jul 17, 2011 at 11:46 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The 18/7/2011 Wall street Journal has an article about NewsCorp, Rebekah Brooks, Andy Coulson an Neil Wallis. I sent the reporters a pointer to this discussion and will be interested to see if they pick up this part of the story.

  66. Hoi Polloi
    Posted Jul 18, 2011 at 7:14 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The Graudian doesn’t get tired to throw all the people on the stake who used the services of Wallis in the past, EXCEPT, of course, UEA….

    • StuartR
      Posted Jul 18, 2011 at 7:35 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Adam Vaughan Editor of the Guardian’s environment site has noticed the story, whether it gets further than that will be interesting to see. He’s tweeted with a link to the EDP Norfolk story:

      Reading: #notw’s Neil Wallis advised UEA over hacked climate emails

      (I had posted the link to this before but it got ate by the spam filter I think)

      • JEM
        Posted Jul 18, 2011 at 9:10 AM | Permalink | Reply

        The mere prospect of Wallis opening his mouth seems to be sending whole echelons of London police brass off into early retirement.

        I’m still suspecting that whatever services were rendered to UEA – or possibly to some agency working with UEA – were of a more active nature than just ‘advice’ or even PR spin.

        • Viv Evans
          Posted Jul 18, 2011 at 9:37 AM | Permalink

          For our friends across the Big Pond and down under, the Chief Commissioner of the Metropolitan police, Sir Paul Stephenson resigned yesterday, Sunday July 17th.
          He gave the consultation contract to Mr Wallis.

          The Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, who also was responsible for investigating terrorist activities, Mr Yates, resigned today, Monday, July 18th.
          He was a recipient, if one can call it that, of the advice given bY Mr Wallis during his consultancy contract, from 2009 to 2010.

        • Posted Jul 18, 2011 at 10:49 AM | Permalink

          JEM (Jul 18 09:10)

          The mere prospect of Wallis opening his mouth seems to be sending whole echelons of London police brass off into early retirement.

          June Kelly, BBC home affairs correspondent:

          “This is an episode like we’ve never seen before in the Met’s long history.” She says Sir Paul Stephenson and John Yates’s connection to one man has brought them down. “I think we can’t stress too strongly that this is seismic for the Met.”

        • Viv Evans
          Posted Jul 18, 2011 at 12:29 PM | Permalink

          Another -unconfirmed – information, which would show that the connections between Yates (Scotland Yard, anti-Terror) and Wallis were perhaps a bit deeper than just professional:

          17.33 Breaking: IPCC investigating claims John Yates inappropriately secured employment for Neil Wallis’s daughter
          The IPCC says it is investigating John Yates for his role in the phone-hacking investigation but also for securing inappropriate employment for the daughter of a friend. Our crime correspondent Mark Hughes says that that friend is understood to be Neil Wallis.

          The IPCC is not what you think!
          It is the Independent Police Complaints Commission in the UK.

        • Posted Jul 18, 2011 at 11:05 AM | Permalink

          More from the live news page on the crisis on the BBC website:

          1648: James Landale Deputy Political Editor, BBC News. David Cameron is flying back from Africa early to prepare for Wednesday’s statement to the Commons. He will now leave Lagos during the afternoon so he can get back to the UK by Tuesday evening, instead of early on Wednesday morning. The prime minister will still give a speech and a press conference in Nigeria tomorrow, but will miss a social event and a visit to a power station.

          It was that missed visit to an African power station that got me. A sign that the end result of the Wallis spectacular will be that Western leaders stop grandstanding over how Africa should adopt more expensive power generation in the name of ‘saving the planet’?

  67. Posted Jul 18, 2011 at 8:51 AM | Permalink | Reply

    There are other “covert operations” viz-a-vis government. When the gov sets up quasi-independent agencies such as the post office and fannie&freddy, they are allowed to contribute to campaigns, advertise, and lobby, which they would not be allowed to do if inside the gov. The EU gives money to green groups which then do media campaigns on issues like climate change–which if the gov did directly would be called propaganda. The EPA gives grants specifically to allow orgs to sue them to force them to do what they wanted to do anyway.

    • John Whitman
      Posted Jul 18, 2011 at 9:08 AM | Permalink | Reply

      “””The EPA gives grants specifically to allow orgs to sue them to force them to do what they wanted to do anyway.”””

      —————

      Craig Loehle,

      That would be politics taken to a devious level.

      John

      • maxberan
        Posted Jul 19, 2011 at 7:13 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Puts me in mind of the BBC’s political comedy programme, “Absolute Power*” about the goings-on at Prentiss McCabe, spin doctors extraordinaire:

        “Prentiss is put on trial when a client reveals the spin doctor asked him to confess to statutory rape in order to gain maximum publicity from his repentance. McCabe and the team are faced with promoting their colleague as a man of the people – while receiving speculative CVs from candidates wanting to replace him including Alistair Campbell, Andrew Neill and Jeffrey Archer. Political comedy series, starring Stephen Fry and John Bird, with guest appearances by Kirsty Wark, Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan”.

        * A bit like “Yes Minister” but more tailored to current saga.

  68. JEM
    Posted Jul 18, 2011 at 9:19 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I’d just note that while the Guardian et al wants to keep the focus on Murdoch, this seems to be a pervasive issue in certain segments of the British press:

    http://order-order.com/2011/07/16/we-are-on-the-verge-of-killing-popular-journalism/

  69. mpaul
    Posted Jul 18, 2011 at 9:49 AM | Permalink | Reply

    It would seem that one of Wallis’ singular talents was is knowing how to pay-off the Police http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2011/07/17/158069.html . This raises important questions about the unusual and unaccounted for payment by UEA to the Norfolk Police Authority http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/?currentPage=4 . There needs to be a call for a complete explanation of Wallis’ activities while employed by the UEA.

  70. BillyBob
    Posted Jul 18, 2011 at 1:14 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “Former News of the World entertainment reporter Sean Hoare, who first brought the News Corp phone hacking scandal to light, has been found dead”

    http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/07/18/news-corp-hacking-whistleblower-found-dead-report/

    Vince Foster … redux?

    • Posted Jul 18, 2011 at 2:54 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Hoare had been ill for a while, not helped by his well-publicised battles with drink and drugs, which led to his leaving the News of the World in the first place. But what he said recently to The Guardian bears repeating on his death, in honour of the man:

      He admitted he had had problems with drink and drugs and had been in rehab. “But that’s irrelevant,” he said. “There’s more to come. This is not going to go away.”

      Hoare named a private investigator who he said had links with the News of the World, adding: “He may want to talk now because I think what you’ll find now is a lot of people are going to want to cover their arse.”

      Speaking to another Guardian journalist last week, Hoare repeatedly expressed the hope that the hacking scandal would lead to journalism in general being cleaned up and said he had decided to blow the whistle on the activities of some of his former News of the World colleagues with that aim in mind.

      Certainly if I was family this from the police

      “The death is currently being treated as unexplained, but not thought to be suspicious.

      would probably raise eyebrows, given recent events. But my hunch is that the Hertfordshire constabulary are playing it straight. Andy Coulson was once a close friend of Hoare. A tragedy for him too. Some things are more important than politics.

      • John Whitman
        Posted Jul 18, 2011 at 3:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Returning to the UEA CRU and Wallis’s services to them.

        It is important to note what Hoare said inside the following Guardian quote, “Hoare named a private investigator who he said had links with the News of the World, [Hoare] adding: “He may want to talk now because I think what you’ll find now is a lot of people are going to want to cover their arse.”

        UEA CRU is in a position to worry about Wallis plea bargaining for less punishment with the gov’t/police. Wallis might be fishing for clemency by voluntarily giving up all info about his activities when working for UEA CRU.

        It will be interesting to see what does develop. We should expect statements from UEPD and UES CRU shortly . . . it is only logical.

        John

      • Posted Jul 19, 2011 at 11:00 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Re: Richard Drake (Jul 18 14:54), Yeah, probably a simple case of involuntary overdose.

  71. Steven Mosher
    Posted Jul 18, 2011 at 3:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

    phone hacking

    “British journalists working for Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World are accused of hiring private detectives to hack illegally into the voice mails of thousands of people, ranging from top politicians and celebrities to murder victims and the families of fallen troops.”

    How is this typically done.

    Thinking a bit about it.

    A. I know your phone number

    1. I use a spoof card and call voice mail.
    A. does voice mail merely check the incoming caller Id? spoof card gets me in then
    B. if voice mail checks for the electronic id of the phone, this wont work
    2. I call from another phone and guess that you did not change your password from
    the default provided by carriers ( hehe 1234 on some systems in england)

    B. I dont know your phone number:

    1. get the unlisted number from various organizations that speciliaze in this.
    2. call my buddy at the phone company.. and get your password to voicemail.
    3. get admin access to voice mails.
    4. get help from counter terrorism folks

    Interesting stuff as you go back through all the articles on hacking, police seem to have been involved. Also medical records were hacked as well.

    • RobWansbeck
      Posted Jul 18, 2011 at 4:14 PM | Permalink | Reply

      I thought that medical, and financial, details had been ‘blagged’ rather than ‘hacked’.

    • Posted Jul 18, 2011 at 5:30 PM | Permalink | Reply

      To some degree, you are ‘over thinking’ this; voice mail access can be made via PSTN (public switched telephone network) phones from anywhere in the free or opressed worlds nowadays and you don’t need a mobile phone registered (automatically ‘checked in’ with the MTSO HLR or VLR) ‘on the network’ to do it.

      As noted by Dr. Slop above (and to which I agree) this is the most likely scenario (have you completely forgotten about the application of Occam’s razor in arriving at a probable scenario?)

      Sure, it would be easy to log into the VMX (voice mail exchange) ‘console’, enter a few SQL terms, come up with an account number then query for stored VM messages; also quite a serious breach of security and protocol for whomever it is was one ‘bought’ to do that … the session most likley shows up on a syslog (system log) too pointing to exactly the person wo whom those logon credentials were issued (jobs in these areas are usually only given access rights befitting the tasks they are meant regularly carry out (think: clerks with limited ability to do customer updates, IT techs to perform system backups, etc) … a few superusers always exist, and are usually known amongst themselves – and by the ‘head’/lead/chief sysadmin …

      .

      • Steven Mosher
        Posted Jul 19, 2011 at 12:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

        I’m actually wondering ( for other reasons ) if the police and/or the service providers may have had a hand in the matter. Time will tell

        • mrsean2k
          Posted Jul 20, 2011 at 9:09 AM | Permalink

          As I understand it, the most common method was (is?) just to use two telephones:

          1) Telephone A is used to call the target mobile

          2) The target answers and is kept in a brief conversation – wrong number or similar

          3) Telephone B is used to call the same number and is immediately directed to voicemail as the number is engaged

          4) Telephone B enters a couple of common PIN numbers at that point to gain access

    • Speed
      Posted Jul 18, 2011 at 5:54 PM | Permalink | Reply

      From BBC:

      Who, What, Why: Can phone hackers still access messages?
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-14044499

      But today hacking is not the simple business it once was. The networks scrapped default passwords years ago. A Vodafone spokeswoman says the company stopped using 3333 in around 2003. Even those who had been using the default for years were forced to choose a new Pin.

      More hacking options at the link.

    • mpaul
      Posted Jul 18, 2011 at 7:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

      The more I’m reading, the more I’m getting a sense that the ‘hacking’ was not of messages or voice; rather it was location data. Apparently reporters would contact someone at Scotland yard who could ping a cell phone and triangulate on its position. The insider would give the location information to the reporter, who would then go and try to get an interview with the person.

      • Posted Jul 18, 2011 at 7:52 PM | Permalink | Reply

        According to Hoare it was both unauthorised access to private data (through whatever means, normally refered to as hacking) and “pinging” – finding out where someone was through the mobile phone signal. There was both hacking and pinging and they were both routine, not just at the NOTW but at the Mirror, The People and The Sun. Routine as in available even to a junior reporter like him, whenever needed. It’s just that the NOTW was the best at the game. (At least that’s my interpretation, from everything I’ve read – and I don’t have any doubt that the broadsheets were not immune to such practices either.) Let’s see what Rupert and James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks say in front of the select committee tomorrow. I took the adverts from Murdoch and News International saying sorry in every other newspaper on the weekend partly as a threat to those newsrooms: you know that we know that you were at it too. Don’t push us too hard.

        • mpaul
          Posted Jul 19, 2011 at 10:54 AM | Permalink

          But I haven’t seen any articles claiming that the police were involved in the message hacking — just the pinging.

      • Posted Jul 18, 2011 at 9:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Apparently reporters would contact someone at Scotland yard who could ping a cell phone and triangulate on its position.

        Stuff for spy novels and a requirement for manpower (men in field with DF antennas and compact digital-signal capable receivers tuned (and matching the protocol, e.g. GSM/EDGE etc.) for the requiste cellular/GSM uplink/control channel frequencies); more likely they simply inquired of the HLR (Home Location Register – a database of mobile phone parameters including some dynamic parameters e.g. the *present* serving or registered cellsite, whether the phone is active with a call or or not, if not, a feature known as ‘periodic registration’ is in effect to allow the phone to make its presence known in area, every say, 5 min. to the MTSO switch for the moment when an incoming call (call delivery) should occur) where the phone was presently ‘registered’. This yields the cell site number and a ‘sector’ (1..3 or A..C) designator (often simply part of the cell site number as in 120A 120B or 120C).

        Don’t know if the UK GSM makes use of widespread mobile phone-incorporated GPS receivers (for position reporting/location-based services) if so, it would be a cinch to invoke that feature remotely and ‘read’ the last Long Lat coordinate pair the GPS receiver was able to calculate …

        Not having followed some of this as closely as some here have, I must remark that that big tizzy seemed initially to stem from the early ‘hacking’/breaking-in of a young girl’s voice mail who went missing (several years back – 2003 or so?); this renders contemporary ‘password’ practices (e.g. the assignment of simple default PINs) moot.

        .

  72. R.S.Brown
    Posted Jul 18, 2011 at 5:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Sean Hoare’s “convenient” and solitary death in the countryside, with no obvious method or motive,
    save natural or self-induced causes, reminds me of the strange occurrence and even stranger 1993
    investigation into the death of Dr. David Kelly.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11603539

    For Dr. Kelly the coroner’s inquest was halted and the matter deferred to a big, equivocating
    investigation by yet another British peer. The BBC and the Ministry of Defense, Scotland Yard,
    MI5, and the US Defense Deparment hovered in the background.

    Kelly’s mutliple-means of “suicide” case, supposedly done alone under trees in the woods near
    the lanes he used for his routine jogging exercise, proved to be a preable to the War in Iraq.
    He didn’t leave a note either.

    In the immediate instance we’re again talking about stakes totalling into the billions of
    pounds in corporate (News Corp & the many Murdoch subsidiaries, the mobile phone industry)
    and public (UAE/CRU, Met Weather Office, Met Police, the counter terrorist unit,and the
    array of investment schemes and plans to fight/mitigate climate change, together with
    Britain’s committment to the IPCC) funding.

    What’s one “rehabilitated” sott, maybe using drugs, when his absence helps keep the way
    thing are
    from unraveling ? Afterall, Sir Paul Stephenson fell on his sword after
    our Ms. Brooks was arrested (and cautioned?) which limits the questions Parliment might have
    put to and gotten answers from Rebekka had she not been arrested.

    Meanwhile… the clock’s still counting down on the University of Virginia and the court
    ordered review of Mike Mann’s e-mails.

    Please, no salt on that popcorn.

    • Posted Jul 18, 2011 at 5:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Sean Hoare’s “convenient” and solitary death in the countryside …

      Leaving aside its convenience or otherwise and to whom, where does it say that he died in the countryside? The BBC report (top story at present) has

      Police investigating the death of Mr Hoare said his body was discovered after police were called to his home at 1040 BST.

      As far as I know he lived on his own so his death was solitary. I also believe the reports that he’d been pretty ill (although there are some that will call these into question too). David Kelly was a completely different case. I suggest not confusing the issue here.

      • Posted Jul 18, 2011 at 5:48 PM | Permalink | Reply

        I should add that Langley Road, Watford, where Hoare lived, though leafy by inner-city London standards, is not countryside by any stretch.

      • Posted Jul 18, 2011 at 6:46 PM | Permalink | Reply

        As far as I know he lived on his own so his death was solitary.

        The Guardian now has:

        They said he lived in the block with his partner, a woman called Jo, who they believed had been away on holiday.

        So he was on his own when he died, assuming that there was no foul play, but there is someone else who will be grieving for him. The earlier comment about popcorn didn’t do it for me by the way. Although Hoare’s career was all about entertainment, this isn’t, as his partner, his family and the family of Milly Dowler will tell you.

  73. R.S.Brown
    Posted Jul 18, 2011 at 10:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Richard Drake on July 18th at 6:46 pm:

    Are we to believe you can not objectively contemplate “convenient” deaths on British
    soil when the potential stakes are billons of pounds and numerous political, corporate,
    professional and academic reputations are very much on the line ?

    For all your hand waving and fluttering murmurs of sympathy for Sean Hoare’s friends,
    you’ve failed to address the parallels of a “convenient” Kelly death in 2003 with the
    Hoare case now another in 2011.

    Both were high media profile individuals when they died alone. There was a preliminary
    invocation of “no foul play” at the onset of both death investigations. The media
    establishment had a great deal to lose if both men had gone forward with Their planned
    activities.

    The “convenient” arrest of Rebekka Brooks, followed hard on by the equally “convenient”
    resignation of Sir Paul Stephenson, and now his Assistant is taking an equally
    “convenient” powder all point to the de-fanging or derailment of any investigation
    that isn’t in court and prosecutorial in nature.

    Belief in the separateness of such events is an innocence which smacks of folly.

    • Posted Jul 19, 2011 at 3:08 AM | Permalink | Reply

      As it happens I believe that David Kelly was murdered and have done for many years. But I looked carefully at the evidence over months and years before coming to that conclusion – for example, I read the book on the subject by the excellent Lib Dem MP Norman Baker (who is now in government). The arguments are very detailed are would seem totally off topic for this thread (though I’ll be guided as always by our gracious and wise host).

      Without similar time to study all aspects of a case, how you can be so sure that Sean Hoare was murdered is a mystery to me. You made some elementary mistakes in your initial description of the circumstances of this death that magnified the parallels with Kelly. You haven’t thanked me for correcting any of these. That suggests to me that you’re still not so much interested in what really happened but in enjoying the ‘entertainment’ of a very public death.

      I’m open to both possibilities. That’s the only rational thing to be. But thanks for sharing.

      • Posted Jul 19, 2011 at 3:19 AM | Permalink | Reply

        From Nick Davies’ moving profile of Sean Hoare in the Guardian today:

        He made no secret of his massive ingestion of drugs. He told me how he used to start the day with “a rock star’s breakfast” – a line of cocaine and a Jack Daniels – usually in the company of a journalist who now occupies a senior position at the Sun. He reckoned he was using three grammes of cocaine a day, spending about £1,000 a week. Plus endless alcohol. Looking back, he could see it had done him enormous damage. But at the time, as he recalled, most of his colleagues were doing it, too.

        In the end, his body would not take it any more. He said he started to have fits, that his liver was in such a terrible state that a doctor told him he must be dead. And, as his health collapsed, he was sacked by the News of the World – by his old friend Coulson.

        His health never recovered. He liked to say that he had stopped drinking, but he would treat himself to some red wine. He liked to say he didn’t smoke any more, but he would stop for a cigarette on his way home. For better and worse, he was a Fleet Street man.

        This is consistent with everything I already knew about Hoare. It doesn’t prove that he wasn’t murdered but it does surely change the probabilities for those with open minds. What was that about a Bayesian prior?

  74. Posted Jul 19, 2011 at 3:08 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Stephen Mosher

    I don’t recall that bit from the Russians. Is there a link?

    • Posted Jul 19, 2011 at 5:32 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Bishop Hill,

      A little Googlefu and voila.

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1235395/SPECIAL-INVESTIGATION-Climate-change-emails-row-deepens–Russians-admit-DID-send-them.html

      This appears to be the first mention of the Russians pushing back hard. It’s at the end of the article.

    • Posted Jul 19, 2011 at 5:50 AM | Permalink | Reply

      So that was about six days after the “Russian” theory first surfaced.

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/copenhagen-climate-change-confe/6746370/Climategate-was-Russian-secret-service-behind-email-hacking-plot.html

      I wonder what day Wallis and Edwards were hired?

      • Posted Jul 19, 2011 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Re charles the moderator (Jul 19 05:50):

        I wonder what day Wallis and Edwards were hired?

        Key question. And who exactly made contact with them to hire them and to persuade Edwards that the work, though covert, was going to be (or lready was) “very high level”. I’ve been thinking more about this sentence:

        The university’s Climatic Research Unit wanted Outside to fire back some shots on the scientists’ behalf after leaked emails from the unit gave climate change skeptics ammunition and led to an avalanche of negative press about whether global warming was a real possibility.

        I’m sorry to break this to CRU fans but I really can’t see that Alan Edwards would consider Dr Phil Jones and his colleagues “very high level”. The chronology and the process of the engagement remain a fascinating mystery.

        The BBC2 coverage of the culture select committee’s session with Rupert and James Murdoch meanwhile is pretty gripping. But no mention of Wallis so far.

        • HaroldW
          Posted Jul 19, 2011 at 10:14 AM | Permalink

          Perhaps the “very high level” refers to the personnel involved, Lords and Sirs. Or the level at which the Outside influence was exerted.

        • Posted Jul 19, 2011 at 5:37 PM | Permalink

          Re: Richard Drake (Jul 19 10:01),

          It looks like I was wrong about the start date of the Russian Hacker theory. I alluded to it myself in my article I posted on 11/29, so that theory was bantered around early and possibly picked up legs, (involvement of Russian Security Services) on or around 12/6.

      • Posted Jul 19, 2011 at 2:17 PM | Permalink | Reply

        I wonder what day Wallis and Edwards were hired?

        In the Music World piece, there is a pic of the Daily Express headline “The Big Climate Change ‘Fraud’” which appears to have been published on Dec. 2/09. But perhaps of greater concern to CRU/UEA would have been a Guardian Editorial of Dec. 3 which concluded:

        Data is often viewed through a tribal prism – think of the slant newspapers give to opinion polls, or the way financiers grab on to particular numbers. And climatologists confront particular pressures that encourage tribal thinking. [...] Climate projections are surrounded by margins of error, a vulnerability when humans are poor at grappling with risk and prone to letting self-interest cloud their thinking.

        Another rule of public life, however, is that the cover-up does more harm than the scandal. Any suggestion that scientists are being less than frank will shred their credibility. The leaked emails are thus profoundly inconvenient for all of us who are concerned to make the world wake up to an inconvenient truth

        The Music World piece also indicated that within a week of the “bad press” they had secured coverage telling CRU/UEA’s “side of the story”. Jones “stepped down” circa Dec. 1. Perhaps CRU/UEA had hoped that announcing the “Investigation” (circa Nov 23) would head things off at the pass … an effort which obviously failed.

        Clearly OO was “on-board” as of Dec. 4, if not a few days before.

  75. R.S.Brown
    Posted Jul 19, 2011 at 4:49 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Richard Drake Posted Jul 19, 2011 at 3:08 AM:

    Richard,

    You just don’t get the difference between a comedy with a laugh track to tell you what’s
    funny and a real-life, unscripted tragedy that you have to see even if you can’t be a
    direct participant.

    I watched the elements of the Kelly case falling into place on both sides of the Atlantic
    long before Dr. Kelly was scheduled for another WMD inspection trip to Iraq; watched his
    erroneous MoD outing as an unauthorized media source; watched the weird investigation
    after his death. I followed the testimony given at Dr. Powers coroner’s inquest until it
    was summarily recessed. I watched the Hutton inquery and read the transcripts and the
    followed the press appearances each day.

    Since 2007 I’ve been have been observing and commenting here, at WUWT, and other
    sites & blogs on the accumulating indicators pre and post Climategate that have been
    gathering momentum. They seem to be leading down a crooked path to a crossroads of
    confrontations sometime in October/November of this year.

    I used to specialize in small, medium and large group dynamics, particularly as they
    operate in and upon the inertia found in socio-political systems. I continuously
    study the elements and participants and the shifts in the system’s dynamics as
    it evolves.

    Your statement “Without similar time to study all aspects of a case…“, applies to
    you, not me. I’m retired and wander the web about 12 hours a day.

    Thanks for concentrating on whether Hoare died alone in a leafy treed semi-urban setting
    or in a semi-rural leafy treed countryside. You’ve found a really critical difference
    between the two “convenient” deaths.

    Rats. This entry has the word “I in it more times than anything that’s been
    posted by R.S.Brown for years. It won’t happen again.

    • Posted Jul 19, 2011 at 5:39 AM | Permalink | Reply

      There’s one thing on which I’m sure we agree. It would best if the Patient Report Form isn’t lost for Sean Hoare, as it was for David Kelly. Unless and until we have such evidence of a high-level cover-up (and there are many such details in the Kelly case) my policy is to trust the authorities – but watchfully.

      Thanks for concentrating on whether Hoare died alone in a leafy treed semi-urban setting or in a semi-rural leafy treed countryside. You’ve found a really critical difference between the two “convenient” deaths.

      Your sarcasm isn’t warranted. Kelly’s body was found in a remote spot in the Oxfordshire countryside, Hambledon Hill – not far from where David Cameron goes riding with Rebekah Brooks, as it happens (or used to, until last week). There were few people that would have been around to see anyone killing Dr Kelly and moving the body, if it was moved. That is completely different from the situation with Hoare, where ‘visitors’ are very likely to have been spotted by neighbours and by CCTV.

      That doesn’t rule out foul play. But once again, before any of us knows very much at all, I’m fail to understand how you can be so sure.

      • Steve McIntyre
        Posted Jul 19, 2011 at 10:36 AM | Permalink | Reply

        http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=8917

        • Posted Jul 19, 2011 at 12:01 PM | Permalink

          BBC News has just reported that Neil Wallis was hired to advise his old boss Andy Coulson while Coulson was working for David Cameron. This puts him in the biggest spotlight there is. But don’t worry, UEA, your time will come :)

        • Viv Evans
          Posted Jul 19, 2011 at 1:50 PM | Permalink

          While i agree that UEA’s time will come, the first part of your post is a rumour tweeted and re-tweeted by BBC and Guardian hacks, then taken up by others who should have checked this rather than spread unsubstantiated gossip.

          See here:

          “18.05 Regarding the latest news about Neil Wallis advising the Conservative Party. A party spokesman says:
          There have been some questions about whether the Conservative Party employed Neil Wallis. We have double checked our records and are able to confirm that neither Neil Wallis nor his company has ever been contracted by the Conservative Party, nor has the Conservative Party made payments to either of them.
          It has been drawn to our attention that he may have provided Andy Coulson with some informal advice on a voluntary basis before the election. We are currently finding out the exact nature of any advice.
          We can confirm that apart from Andy Coulson, neither David Cameron nor any senior member of the campaign team were aware of this until this week.”

          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/phone-hacking/8617707/News-of-the-World-phone-hacking-live.html

          Why Cameron should have ‘investigated’ if informal advice was given by a fried to his employee, at a time when he wasn’t even PM yet, and why that is a ground to depose him escapes me.
          I think the halos of quite a few of our hacks in the UK must be pinching them very hard, else they’d actually think before they tweet.

        • Posted Jul 19, 2011 at 2:41 PM | Permalink

          I wasn’t implying or seeking to imply that Cameron now had reason to fall on his sword because of this. The wording from the Tory Party tends for me to confirm that they know Wallis did assist Coulson. My interest was that this keeps Wallis in the spotlight on a rather busy news day.

          The BBC has already neglected to publish my message yesterday that mentioned Wallis’s work for UEA and pointed to the link with Cameron missing that appointment with a Nigerian power station. That silent neglect wasn’t much of s surprise: it doesn’t quite fit anyone’s narrative, not the Guardian’s, not the BBC’s, not Cameron’s, not that of any mainstream political party in the UK.

      • Posted Jul 19, 2011 at 1:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Rebekah Brooks has just denied to the select committee that she has ever gone riding with David Cameron, whom she describes as a neighbour in Oxfordshire and a friend. Brooks herself is known to enjoy horseriding but I stand corrected on that detail.

        • Posted Mar 2, 2012 at 8:50 AM | Permalink

          Feeling a need to correct this small point back in July stuck in the mind. As with so much, it wasn’t the whole story, as has come out after revelations this week that one of Brooks’s horses came as a gift from the Metropolitan Police:

          David Cameron has confirmed he did ride a horse which police lent to former Sun editor Rebekah Brooks.

          He apologised for allowing a “confusing picture” over the issue to emerge after days of speculation.

          News that London’s police force lent Mrs Brooks a horse emerged as inquiries continue into the relationship between News International and the Met.

          Mr Cameron joked that he did not think he would be “getting back into the saddle any time soon.”

          Earlier, a spokesman would only say the PM “probably” rode the horse, which was called Raisa, amid much speculation at Westminster.

          But Mr Cameron told reporters he had ridden Raisa during a riding expedition with Mrs Brooks’ husband, Charlie, who has been a friend of the prime minister’s for over 30 years.

          “I have not been riding with him since the election. Before the election, yes, I did go riding with him,” he said.

          “He has a number of horses and, yes, one of them was this former police horse, Raisa, which I did ride.

          A quick reminder that ‘Hackgate’ and related police corruption investigations rumble on in the UK. Cameron rode with (a) Brooks, including on a horse provided to the News Corp media executive by grateful police. It really would be quite hard to make it up.

  76. Annabelle
    Posted Jul 19, 2011 at 8:38 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The interesting part of this story one would have thought for this crowd, would be the Wallis-Climategate-Norfolk Police possible connection.. loss of temp data, stonewalling etc.

  77. Posted Jul 19, 2011 at 11:16 AM | Permalink | Reply

    If you can get physical access to a phone you can use this…
    http://www.git-security.com/products/it-and-it-security/mobile-phone-and-pda-forensics-cellebrite-releases-ufed-physical-analyze

    AT about $5000 it’s not cheap — unless you need to “crack and hack” a lot of phones.

    And then one thing leads to another… Whether they used this type of equipment or a human network seems to be an open question.

  78. StuartR
    Posted Jul 19, 2011 at 1:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Joe Romm has obviously seen this page on CA but has managed to interpret the implications of the Wallis, UEA and Police connections in a completely new and fascinating way. ;)

    In fact, most people think that UEA’s crisis management was catastrophically bad for months — “covert” is a good word for it, though I prefer “virtually nonexistent.” I can’t imagine wanting to put on your resume that you were the guy in charge of UEA’s PR after Climategate. It’d be like saying you advised President Bush on how to handle PR around his response to Hurricane Katrina. Of course, Wallis won’t be getting many PR jobs for the foreseeable future.

    Personally I agree that the fact Alan Edwards and others gave the game away boasting after the fact about “high level” involvement may be considered incompetent, but I think good PR doesn’t show while it is going on, and who knows how long OO worked behind the scenes during the however long period they were working?

    However I totally agree with Romm when he says:

    Now it is entirely possible that News Corp wasn’t involved. But there is no way of knowing until we get a thorough and independent investigation.

    • Chu
      Posted Jul 19, 2011 at 3:12 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Think I saw an interview where Alan Edwards said crisis management PR was to aim for a draw (his meaning, not exact words).

      • Chu
        Posted Jul 19, 2011 at 3:17 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Actually it’s here.

        http://www.jamessilver.net/articles/alan-edwards-the-guardian.asp

        “PRs truly earn their bucks when crises flare up and Edwards, who calls himself “a negotiator by instinct”, has a reputation for skill in putting out such blazes, otherwise known as “crisis management”. He says: “All saying ‘no comment’ to the media does is keep the fires burning, so the crisis hasn’t been averted, it’s just rumbling on and at some stage it will envelop you. The key is proactive rather than reactive PR. A good PR sees trouble coming, he is ahead of the story. If all you’re telling a client is what’s in the papers that morning, then they might as well ask the newsagent.””

      • StuartR
        Posted Jul 20, 2011 at 3:19 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Re: Chu (Jul 19 15:12),

        That’s an interesting point. Speaking for myself, at the time, and seeing the reactions, I really believed that UEA were rather naive and out of their depth and felt a measure of sympathy for them and Jones. This could have translated into a stronger feeling for those others with less background knowledge. The trouble is we don’t know how bad it would have been without PR. Or what the PR consisted of yet.
        As I said above the main thrust of this story for me is not the Wallis involvement but that there was “covert” PR in the first place. I now have to reassess what I thought at the time and check if I was manipulated. I think for the people who put more trust in the apparent innocence and haplessness of the UEA at the time this could be quite an un-nerving feeling too.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Jul 20, 2011 at 8:18 AM | Permalink

          At the Guardian symposium last summer, George Monbiot’s opening question (to Trevor Davies of UEA) was:

          why was CRU’s response to this issue such a total car crash?

          Davies:

          Trevor Davies: It’s very difficult for a good employer to get reputation management right. It’s even more difficult when crucial international decisions have to be made.

  79. Viv Evans
    Posted Jul 19, 2011 at 1:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Further to Sean Hoare’s death:

    “19.10 Hertfordshire Police have released the following statement about the death of Sean Hoare, whose body was found yesterday morning:
    There is no evidence of third party involvement and the death is non suspicious. Further toxicology results are now awaited and there is an on-going examination of health problems identified at the post mortem.
    Please note, toxicology reports can take some weeks and we cannot make any further comments at on the post mortem, including the problems at this time.”
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/phone-hacking/8617707/News-of-the-World-phone-hacking-live.html

  80. Posted Jul 19, 2011 at 5:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Yesterday afternoon at 6.25 I posted a brief mention of the Wallis UEA connection on a Guardian climate thread – discussing biased reporting on Climate. Since the Guardian played a prominent part in the NOTW hacking affair I suggested that they might take a look at the UEA OO connection. The post was up for about three minutes then was deleted as not conforming to their “community standards”. I replied asking what community standard was violated Their response was not to post my reply but to say my posts would henceforth be pre moderated.So much for their concern for bias.

  81. mpaul
    Posted Jul 19, 2011 at 5:48 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I have to say I was struck by the contrast between today’s hearings and the farce of the Climategate hearings. Today we had tough, probing questions and real fact findings. I thought that James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks were in command of the facts and were impressive witnesses (Rupert Murdoch…not so much). In contrast, the Climagate committee asked poorly constructed questions, failed to follow-up, were uninformed regarding the substance of the controversy and appeared to simply want to ‘move on’.

  82. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Jul 19, 2011 at 10:25 PM | Permalink | Reply

    So CEO Rupert Murdoch says he does not know who did it, but he is the best person to clean it up. A bit of a joke.

  83. StuartR
    Posted Jul 20, 2011 at 2:55 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Interesting to see that Romm’s article has been picked up by Grist now with a title which has morphed into the less ambiguous assertion.

    Could Murdoch’s News Corp be behind Climategate too?

    This is getting to be like a game of ‘telephone’! How lucky was it that Murdoch organised the UEA hack and then positioned his guy to do the PR work after? Seem occams razor doesn’t get a look in with some people ;)

    Now that the original fact uncovered by Chu here, that a Murdoch ex-employee had been PR’ing for UEA has been “legitimised” in this way the story seems to be picking up legs on twitter and blogs which is good I think. Hopefully this will help it finally get more attention in the press. Surely a real editor can’t miss the more mundane underlying implications?

    I notice that neither grist or thinkprogress link to the original EDP Norfolk piece even though they both quote from it. I can’t blame them that’s the only piece of real MSM journalism to appear so far ;)

    • StuartR
      Posted Jul 20, 2011 at 4:28 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: StuartR (Jul 20 02:55), Re: StuartR (Jul 20 02:55),

      It is fascinating to see the story that originated on this page leading to this from the Daily Kos:

      [A] damning post Joe Romm at Climate Progress wrote linking News Corp with the release of the private emails from climate scientists last year — The so called ‘climategate’

      Who needs a Media studies course when you can follow the moulding of a story in real time? :)

      According to the Kos article Keith Olbermann has also tweeted this:

      Exclusive, breaking news tonight on Countdown: The scandal’s unexpected new turn – Murdoch-Gate meets Climate-Gate email hacking

      Can’t wait to hear what new information they bring to light ;)

      • StuartR
        Posted Jul 20, 2011 at 9:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Watched the interview clip of Olbermann and Romm on the Countdown website, disappointing to say I didn’t see anything new. Not familiar with Olbermann’s work but in this instance he just appeared to allow Romm to echo everything he said in his original article in a conversational form.

        Fascinating to see Olbermann referring to the original “Music Week” article, which kicked this all off here, on his blog.

  84. pat
    Posted Jul 20, 2011 at 8:10 AM | Permalink | Reply

    20 July: Daily Mail: Max Hastings: These dripping wet inquisitors achieved the impossible feat of making us feel sorry for Rupert Murdoch
    It is extraordinary that almost a quarter of Scotland Yard’s entire staff of 45 press officers are ex-NoW employees…
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2016697/Phone-hacking-scandal-Dripping-wet-inquisitors-feel-sorry-Rupert-Murdoch.html

  85. Posted Jul 20, 2011 at 9:31 AM | Permalink | Reply

    re: steve at http://climateaudit.org/2011/07/14/covert-operations-by-east-anglias-cru/#comment-298718

    I wonder in what alternate universe a university needs to make “crucial international decisions”? And don’t most universities do their “reputation management” by sending out press releases about their great faculty or announcing a new building or lab? When did they start doing it by conducting covert operations? Train wreck indeed.

  86. Posted Jul 20, 2011 at 11:29 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The “crucial international decisions” from Davies for me matches the “very high level” from Edwards. These chaps have far too high an opinion of themselves, needless to say. The problem is that others of ‘high level’ (so-called) also seem to. Plenty of food for thought.

  87. Hugo M
    Posted Jul 20, 2011 at 12:14 PM | Permalink | Reply

    According to an article at wsws.org (an US-based socialist organisation),

    Hoare’s claims were passed on to the Metropolitan Police, who said he declined to give evidence. The Guardian’s Nick Davies paints a fuller picture more damaging to the police. He writes that Hoare was “offended when Scotland Yard’s former assistant commissioner, John Yates, assigned officers to interview him, not as a witness but as a suspect. They told him anything he said could be used against him, and, to his credit, he refused to have anything to do with them.”

    And:

    A Guardian report also notes that Hoare’s body was found at 10:40 am, but “It was not until after 9 pm, two hours after news broke that the phone hacking whistleblower had been found dead, that more uniformed and plainclothes police arrived at the scene. At about 9:15 pm, a police van marked Scientific Services Unit pulled up at the address, where a police car was already parked.” The report continues, “Two officers emerged carrying evidence bags, clipboards, torches and laptop-style bags and entered the building. Three officers carrying cameras and in white forensic suits followed at 9:30 pm.”

    http://www.wsws.org/articles/2011/jul2011/hoar-j20.shtml

  88. R.S.Brown
    Posted Jul 24, 2011 at 6:45 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Today I was looking over some of the past files I’ve stored releated to Climategate.

    I ran arcoss this one from Ben Santer of Lawrence Livermore Lab to the climate science
    community. I’m putting it on this thread so as to not clog up the current top thread.

    Why is this relevant ?? Because this came out during the UEA/CRU PR Management efforts of Neil
    Wallis and Alan Edwards of Outside Organisation

    Is there a Wallis connection that stretches over the Atlantic to Santer and Hansen at Lawrence
    Livermore ?

    From: Ben Santer <sant…@xxxx.xxx
    Date: Wed, Dec 2, 2009 at 4:58 PM

    Subject: Open letter to the climate science community

    Dear colleagues and friends,

    I am sure that by now, all of you are aware of the hacking incident which
    recently took place at the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research
    Unit (CRU). This was a criminal act. Over 3,000 emails and documents were
    stolen. The identity of the hacker or hackers is still unknown.

    The emails represented private correspondence between CRU scientists and
    scientists at climate research centers around the world. Dozens of the
    stolen emails are from over a decade of my own personal correspondence with
    Professor Phil Jones, the Director of CRU.

    I obtained my Ph.D. at the Climatic Research Unit. I went to CRU in 1983
    because it was – and remains – one of the world's premier institutions for
    studying the nature and causes of climate change. During the course of my
    Ph.D., I was privileged to work together with exceptional scientists – with
    people like Tom Wigley, Phil Jones, Keith Briffa, and Sarah Raper.

    After completing my Ph.D. at CRU in 1987, I devoted much of my scientific
    career to what is now called "climate fingerprinting", which seeks to
    understand the causes of recent climate change. At its core, fingerprinting
    is a form of what people now call "data mining" – an attempt to extract
    information and meaning from very large, complex climate datasets. The
    emails stolen from the Climatic Research Unit are now being subjected to a
    very different form of "data mining". This mining is taking place in the
    blogosphere, in the editorial pages of various newspapers, and in radio and
    television programs. This form of mining has little to do with extracting
    meaning from personal email correspondence on complex scientific issues.
    This form of mining seeks to find dirt – to skew true meaning, to distort,
    to misrepresent, to take out of context. It seeks to destroy the reputations
    of exceptional scientists – scientists like Professor Phil Jones.

    I have known Phil for over 25 years. He is the antithesis of the secretive,
    "data destroying" character being portrayed to the outside world by the
    miners of dirt and disinformation. Phil Jones and Tom Wigley (the second
    Director of the Climatic Research Unit) devoted significant portions of
    their scientific careers to the construction of the land component of the
    so-called "HadCRUT" dataset of land and ocean surface temperatures. The U.K.
    Meteorological Office Hadley Centre (MOHC) took the lead in developing the
    ocean surface temperature component of HadCRUT.

    The CRU and Hadley Centre efforts to construct the HadCRUT dataset have been
    open and transparent, and are documented in dozens of peer-reviewed
    scientific papers. This work has been tremendously influential. In my
    personal opinion, it is some of the most important scientific research ever
    published. It has provided hard scientific evidence for the warming of our
    planet over the past 150 years.

    Phil, Tom, and their CRU and MOHC colleagues conducted this research in a
    very open and transparent manner. Like good scientists, they examined the
    sensitivity of their results to many different subjective choices made
    during the construction of the HadCRUT dataset. These choices relate to such
    issues as how to account for changes over time in the type of thermometer
    used to make temperature measurements, the thermometer location, and the
    immediate physical surroundings of the thermometer. They found that, no
    matter what choices they made in dataset construction, their bottom-line
    finding – that the surface of our planet is warming – was rock solid. This
    finding was supported by many other independent lines of evidence, such as
    the retreat of snow and sea-ice cover, the widespread melting and retreat of
    glaciers, the rise in sea-level, and the increase in the amount of water
    vapor in the atmosphere. All of these independent observations are
    physically consistent with a warming planet.

    Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof. The claim that our Earth
    had warmed markedly during the 20th century was extraordinary, and was
    subjected to extraordinary scrutiny. Groups at the National Climatic Data
    Center in North Carolina (NCDC) and at the Goddard Institute for Space
    Studies in New York (GISS) independently attempted to reproduce the results
    of the Climatic Research Unit and the U.K. Meteorological Office Hadley
    Centre. While the NCDC and GISS groups largely relied on the same primary
    temperature measurements that had been used in the development of the
    HadCRUT dataset, they made very different choices in the treatment of the
    raw measurements. Although there were differences in the details of the
    three groups' results, the NCDC and GISS analyses broadly confirmed the
    "warming Earth" findings of the CRU and MOHC scientists.

    Other extraordinary claims – such as a claim by scientists at the University
    of Alabama that Earth's lower atmosphere cooled since 1979, and that such
    cooling contradicts "warming Earth" findings – have not withstood rigorous
    scientific examination.

    In summary, Phil Jones and his colleagues have done a tremendous service to
    the scientific community – and to the planet – by making surface temperature
    datasets publicly available for scientific research. These datasets have
    facilitated climate research around the world, and have led to the
    publication of literally hundreds of important scientific papers.

    Phil Jones is one of the gentlemen of our field. He has given decades of his
    life not only to cutting-edge scientific research on the nature and causes
    of climate change, but also to a variety of difficult and time-consuming
    community service activities – such as his dedicated (and repeated) service
    as a Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

    Since the theft of the CRU emails and their public dissemination, Phil has
    been subjected to the vilest personal attacks. These attacks are without
    justification. They are deeply disturbing. They should be of concern to all
    of you. We are now faced with powerful "forces of unreason" – forces that
    (at least to date) have been unsuccessful in challenging scientific findings
    of a warming Earth, and a "discernible human influence" on global climate.
    These forces of unreason are now shifting the focus of their attention to
    the scientists themselves. They seek to discredit, to skew the truth, to
    misrepresent. They seek to destroy scientific careers rather than to improve
    our understanding of the nature and causes of climate change.

    Yesterday, Phil temporarily stepped down as Director of the Climatic
    Research Unit. Yesterday was a very sad day for climate science. When the
    forces of unreason win, and force exceptional scientists like Professor Phil
    Jones to leave their positions, we all lose. Climate science loses. Our
    community loses. The world loses.

    Now, more than at any other time in human history, we need sound scientific
    information on the nature and causes of climate change. Phil Jones and his
    colleagues at CRU have helped to provide such information. I hope that all
    of you will join me in thanking Phil for everything he has done – and will
    do in the future – for our scientific community. He and his CRU colleagues
    deserve great credit.

    With best regards,

    Ben Santer
    —————————————————————————¬-
    Benjamin D. Santer
    Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison
    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
    P.O. Box 808, Mail Stop L-103
    Livermore, CA 94550, U.S.A.

    [telephone numbers deleted - R.S.Brown]

    email: sant…@xxxx.xxx

    • Posted Jul 26, 2011 at 5:24 AM | Permalink | Reply

      R.S. Brown wrote:

      Is there a Wallis connection that stretches over the Atlantic to Santer and Hansen at Lawrence Livermore ?

      [...]

      From: Ben Santer <sant…@xxxx.xxx
      Date: Wed, Dec 2, 2009 at 4:58 PM

      Subject: Open letter to the climate science community

      Dear colleagues and friends,

      [...]

      Since the theft of the CRU emails and their public dissemination, Phil has been subjected to the vilest personal attacks.

      Well, it certainly fits in with the timeline And there are two key “seeds” planted therein: “theft” and “poor Phil”.

      I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to consider that Neil <You have very creative people, you have fastmoving situations, you have to think on your feet> Wallis could have whipped up such an E-mail in no time flat, to which Santer could easily have added some flourishes of his own.

      Nature also rode to the rescue with a similar message in which they echoed poor Phil’s pre-stepping-down case that a trick is not a trick – and made sure that no reader could miss: “The theft highlights the harassment that denialists inflict on some climate-change researchers”, in an editorial of December 3.

      And speaking of that “trick” … in light of current disclosures of previous disclaimers on the part of key parties, here’s an ironic paragraph from that Nature editorial:

      The stolen e-mails have prompted queries about whether Nature will investigate some of the researchers’ own papers. One e-mail talked of displaying the data using a ‘trick’ — slang for a clever (and legitimate) technique, but a word that denialists have used to accuse the researchers of fabricating their results. It is Nature’s policy to investigate such matters if there are substantive reasons for concern, but nothing we have seen so far in the e-mails qualifies.

      Hand of Wallis at the Nature keyboard? Alas, one never really knows what goes on behind closed screens, eh?!

      Steve: I think that you’re getting carried away here. Santer is more than capable of writing fantasies on his own. As was CRU. My guess is that Wallis’ role was more in helping UEA get the fantasies into the newspapers and media.

      • Posted Jul 26, 2011 at 6:16 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Forgot to mention that when Santer made a presentation to the 2009 AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco, on Tues. Dec. 16, he delivered a much abbreviated version of the message (according to Rabbett). Next chorus and next verse were a little bit louder and a little bit worse:

        [...]
        Sadly, climate scientists now see and feel interference from political and economic interests. This interference is pervasive. Powerful forces are using a criminal act – the theft of over a thousand emails from the U.K.’s Climatic Research Unit – to advance their own agendas.

        These “forces of unreason” seek to constrain our ability to speak truth to power. They seek to skew and distort what we know about the nature and causes of climate change. Having failed to undermine climate science itself, they seek to destroy the reputations of individual climate scientists. They seek to destroy men like Phil Jones and Mike Mann, who have devoted their entire careers to the pursuit of scientific knowledge and understanding.

        We must not let this stand.

        We no longer have the luxury of remaining silent on these issues. We all have voices. We need to use them.

        Oh, the poor little lambs!

        No idea how many might have attended this Santer session, but there was certainly no dearth of <a href="http://www.agu.org/meetings/fm09/newsmedia/whos_coming.php"media reps at the conference.

      • Posted Jul 26, 2011 at 4:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Steve: I think that you’re getting carried away here. Santer is more than capable of writing fantasies on his own. As was CRU. My guess is that Wallis’ role was more in helping UEA get the fantasies into the newspapers and media.

        Sorry about that, chief! I had just finished reading/listening to the Romm/Olbermann fantasies in all their speculative glory … and if they can fantasize, why can’t I? ;-) Nonetheless …

        Of course, we’ll probably never know (unless Romm/Olbermann get their wish for a full-blown independent judicial enquiry!). However, we know from the emails that CRU did not lack “high-level” media contacts whose ears they could bend – with perhaps some input from the UEA media relations dep’t at their disposal. As we now also know – Wallis was not alone on the OO job (unless Bowen was lying on his LinkedIn profile).

        So, while I recognize that my current “evidence” is circumstantial at best, considering the timing … it’s not implausible that once they were on the scene, while they may (or may not) have written any actual suggested content, Wallis/Bowen’s strategy would have included identification of the key messages (not to mention the “framing” thereof) to be promulgated amongst the OO “heavy-weight” contacts, as well as amongst the fantasists in CRU’s own network.

  89. tomdesabla
    Posted Jul 30, 2011 at 9:41 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Hello All

    Long-time lurker here…

    I haven’t been able to respond to specific comments upthread yet. Is that because I’m using IE instead of Firefox? So let’s try commenting at the end : )

    I hope I don’t get snipped on my first comment for mentioning that there has been another death connected with OO.

    Amy Winehouse. Now I’m sure that it’s just an odd coincidence, but IMHO, worth noting.

  90. Posted Apr 2, 2012 at 10:25 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Neil Wallis has been giving evidence today to the Levenson Inquiry investigating the role of press and police in the phone-hacking scandal. Not surprisingly Wallis doesn’t think there was any problem with his various links with police. There’s no mention of UEA or the strange behaviour of Norfolk and anti-terrorism police post Climategate in the BBC report – but the relationship with John Yates and Andy Hayman did come up.

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  1. [...] “Covert” Operations by East Anglia’s CRU Jul 14, 2011 – 2:53 PM by Steve McIntyre [...]

  2. By Telling blow to CRU, UEA… | pindanpost on Jul 15, 2011 at 1:57 AM

    [...] “Covert” Operations by East Anglia’s CRU [...]

  3. [...] [...]

  4. [...] McIntyre: “Covert” Operations by East Anglia’s CRU VN:F [1.9.10_1130]please wait…Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)VN:F [1.9.10_1130]Rating: 0 (from 0 votes) This entry was posted in Featured and tagged Climate Change, ipcc. Bookmark the permalink. ← Afternoon Update July 15th, 2011 (10) [...]

  5. [...] addthis_product = 'wpp-261'; var addthis_config = {"data_track_clickback":true}; Zoals altijd is Koning Steve weer op dreef. Ditmaal over de spindoctors die Climategate-universiteit de Climate Research Unit van de [...]

  6. [...] tutto qui a firma di Steve McIntyre: ‘Covert’ operations by East Anglia’s CRU AKPC_IDS += "18630,";Popularity: unranked In [...]

  7. [...] hired to deal with the more covert operations. For example: I think UEA is going to regret the fact that people now know they hired Outside Organization to deal with flak during [...]

  8. [...] release of the Climategate emails. This association came to light in a post by Steve McIntyre at ClimateAudit on July 14. Andrew Montford, author of The Hockey Stick Illusion (a must read, that’s now [...]

  9. [...] Climate Audit by Steve McIntyre Skip to content Hockey Stick StudiesStatistics and RContact Steve McProxy DataCA blog setupFAQ 2005Station DataHigh-Resolution Ocean SedimentsSubscribe to CAEconometric ReferencesBlog Rules and Road MapGridded DataTip JarAboutCA Assistant « “Covert” Operations by East Anglia’s CRU [...]

  10. [...] vous invite à lire les commentaires intéressants sur le billet de Steve McIntyre (anglais|français) à l’origine de ce texte, repris aussi sur WUWT [...]

  11. [...] to divert from the problem. When the emails were leaked from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) a public relations person was engaged. Website Desmogblog is the brainchild of James Hoggan, Board Chairman of the [...]

  12. [...] to divert from the problem. When the emails were leaked from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) a public relations person was engaged. Website Desmogblog is the brainchild of James Hoggan, Board Chairman of the [...]

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