FOIA Speaks: “It’s time to tie up loose ends”

Posted: March 13, 2013 by tallbloke in FOI, Philosophy

FOIA speaks: “It’s time to tie up loose ends and dispel some of the speculation surrounding the Climategate affair”
Tom Nelson Writes
I’ve received the following unsolicited email from a person unknown to me:

Update from Tom:  Yes, the provided password does open all.7z.
========
foiaSubject:  FOIA 2013: the password

It’s time to tie up loose ends and dispel some of the speculation surrounding the Climategate affair.

Indeed, it’s singular “I” this time.  After certain career developments I can no longer use the papal plural 😉

If this email seems slightly disjointed it’s probably my linguistic background and the problem of trying to address both the wider audience (I expect this will be partially reproduced sooner or later) and the email recipients (whom I haven’t decided yet on).

The “all.7z” password is

[redacted]

DO NOT PUBLISH THE PASSWORD.  Quote other parts if you like.

Releasing the encrypted archive was a mere practicality.  I didn’t want to keep the emails lying around.

I prepared CG1 & 2 alone.  Even skimming through all 220.000 emails would have taken several more months of work in an increasingly unfavorable environment.

Dumping them all into the public domain would be the last resort.  Majority of the emails are irrelevant, some of them probably sensitive and socially damaging.

To get the remaining scientifically (or otherwise) relevant emails out,  I ask you to pass this on to any motivated and responsible individuals who could volunteer some time to sift through the material for eventual release.

Filtering\redacting personally sensitive emails doesn’t require special expertise.

I’m not entirely comfortable sending the password around unsolicited, but haven’t got better ideas at the moment.  If you feel this makes you seemingly “complicit” in a way you don’t like, don’t take action.

I don’t expect these remaining emails to hold big surprises.  Yet it’s possible that the most important pieces are among them.  Nobody on the planet has held the archive in plaintext since CG2.

That’s right; no conspiracy, no paid hackers, no Big Oil.  The Republicans didn’t plot this.  USA politics is alien to me, neither am I from the UK.  There is life outside the Anglo-American sphere.

If someone is still wondering why anyone would take these risks, or sees only a breach of privacy here, a few words…

The first glimpses I got behind the scenes did little to  garner my trust in the state of climate science — on the contrary.  I found myself in front of a choice that just might have a global impact.

Briefly put, when I had to balance the interests of my own safety, privacy\career of a few scientists, and the well-being of billions of people living in the coming several decades, the first two weren’t the decisive concern.

It was me or nobody, now or never.  Combination of several rather improbable prerequisites just wouldn’t occur again for anyone else in the foreseeable future.  The circus was about to arrive in Copenhagen.  Later on it could be too late.

Most would agree that climate science has already directed where humanity puts its capability, innovation, mental and material “might”.  The scale will grow ever grander in the coming decades if things go according to script.  We’re dealing with $trillions and potentially drastic influence on practically everyone.

Wealth of the surrounding society tends to draw the major brushstrokes of a newborn’s future life.  It makes a huge difference whether humanity uses its assets to achieve progress, or whether it strives to stop and reverse it, essentially sacrificing the less fortunate to the climate gods.

We can’t pour trillions in this massive hole-digging-and-filling-up endeavor and pretend it’s not away from something and someone else.

If the economy of a region, a country, a city, etc.  deteriorates, what happens among the poorest? Does that usually improve their prospects? No, they will take the hardest hit.  No amount of magical climate thinking can turn this one upside-down.

It’s easy for many of us in the western world to accept a tiny green inconvenience and then wallow in that righteous feeling, surrounded by our “clean” technology and energy that is only slightly more expensive if adequately subsidized.

Those millions and billions already struggling with malnutrition, sickness, violence, illiteracy, etc.  don’t have that luxury.  The price of “climate protection” with its cumulative and collateral effects is bound to destroy and debilitate in great numbers, for decades and generations.

Conversely, a “game-changer” could have a beneficial effect encompassing a similar scope.

If I had a chance to accomplish even a fraction of that, I’d have to try.  I couldn’t morally afford inaction.  Even if I risked everything, would never get personal compensation, and could probably never talk about it with anyone.

I took what I deemed the most defensible course of action, and would do it again (although with slight alterations — trying to publish something truthful on RealClimate was clearly too grandiose of a plan ;-).

Even if I have it all wrong and these scientists had some good reason to mislead us (instead of making a strong case with real data) I think disseminating the truth is still the safest bet by far.

Big thanks to Steve and Anthony and many others.  My contribution would never have happened without your work (whether or not you agree with the views stated).

Oh, one more thing.  I was surprised to learn from a “progressive” blog, corroborated by a renowned “scientist”, that the releases were part of a coordinated campaign receiving vast amounts of secret funding from shady energy industry groups.

I wasn’t aware of the arrangement but warmly welcome their decision to support my project.  For that end I opened a bitcoin address: 1HHQ36qbsgGZWLPmiUjYHxQUPJ6EQXVJFS.

More seriously speaking, I accept, with gratitude, modest donations to support The (other) Cause.  The address can also serve as a digital signature to ward off those identity thefts which are part of climate scientists’ repertoire of tricks these days.

Keep on the good work.  I won’t be able to use this email address for long so if you reply, I can’t guarantee reading or answering.  I will several batches, to anyone I can think of.

Over and out.

Mr. FOIA
========

Comments
  1. tallbloke says:

    I’m glad FOIA didn’t send me a copy of the email. I don’t fancy holding the secret policemans ball a second time. 🙂

    Then again, it’d be fun to be among the first to open the archive.

  2. PeterF says:

    Well, does the password work?

  3. tallbloke says:

    Update from Tom: Yes, the provided password does open all.7z.
    Which of course proves the email is bona fide.

  4. I don’t fancy holding the secret policemans ball a second time.

    It would be better than him holding yours!

  5. tallbloke says:

    True, Paul, very true 😉

  6. tallbloke says:

    If anybody suddenly gets the urge to vote for the talkshop in the 2013 Bloggies, they can click on the ‘Finalist’ graphic at the top left of the sidebar. 🙂

  7. tallbloke says:

    “Most would agree that climate science has already directed where humanity puts its capability, innovation, mental and material “might”. The scale will grow ever grander in the coming decades if things go according to script. We’re dealing with $trillions and potentially drastic influence on practically everyone.

    Wealth of the surrounding society tends to draw the major brushstrokes of a newborn’s future life. It makes a huge difference whether humanity uses its assets to achieve progress, or whether it strives to stop and reverse it, essentially sacrificing the less fortunate to the climate gods.

    We can’t pour trillions in this massive hole-digging-and-filling-up endeavor and pretend it’s not away from something and someone else.

    If the economy of a region, a country, a city, etc. deteriorates, what happens among the poorest? Does that usually improve their prospects? No, they will take the hardest hit. No amount of magical climate thinking can turn this one upside-down.”

    Can’t find anything much to disagree with here.

  8. EternalOptimist says:

    Holey Moley.
    Well, Chris Huhne has an alibi

  9. Green Sand says:

    “Filtering\redacting personally sensitive emails doesn’t require special expertise.”

    ….but it does require integrity.

  10. tallbloke says:

    Green Sand: Indeed. Anyway, I now have the password, and I’m unzipping the all.7z archive. Stand by for lots of interesting posts.

  11. oldbrew says:

    Lubos Motl got the tip-off too. The defenders of the faith must already be reaching for their hard hats.

  12. tallbloke says:

    Crispin in Waterloo but actually in Yogyakarta says:
    March 13, 2013 at 8:28 am

    Dear Mr FOIA

    I appreciate the risks you took and thanks for mentioning that you were not compensated, and that are you are not ‘working’ for anyone other than the billions members of humankind who are being taxed, even now, to feed the vain imaginings of the deceitful.

    As you can imagine, it will take other pairs of eyes to see significances in what may seem to us individuals to be innocuous communications. There was so much coordination of the perfidy, the misrepresentation of science and in the bumbling efforts to pervert the meaning of ‘scientific conclusion’ it is inevitable that further conspiracies will emerge from a close reading of the full text.

    What has been important in CG2 was the ‘context’ which you provided, showing that the abuses and conspiracies described in CG1 were real. Implications in CG3 will take quite some time to solidify, but will do so.

    A question that always emerges from scandal is ‘What did he know and when did he know it?” The full index will provide many insights into that question. I suspect there is a lot of file-burning taking place right now in certain quarters.

    I need never know who you are. Your commitment to staying the hands of the oppressors and revealing their criminal intent can serve eternally as a great lesson for all students of science and social morality.

    Much appreciated
    Crispin

  13. michael hart says:

    Should Tom Nelson quickly get himself a spare laptop? 🙂

    ——————————
    Nearly on-topic, it is somewhat pleasing to read this comment [at the BBC] by Sir Mark Walport taking up his new position of the government’s Chief Scientific Advisor next month:

    -“Sir Mark says the security of our energy supply – making sure the lights don’t go out and that our infrastructure works – are the obvious challenges ahead.”

  14. tallbloke says:

    Archive unzipped, will have a peek while I’m traveling home.

  15. michael hart says:

    Either because they are tasked with doing so from on high, or because learning other peoples secrets is a matter of professional pride, they will want that password from someone.

  16. Zeke says:

    Thank you tallbloke. 200,000 emails is a lot of material to read, and your experience with previous Climategate emails is appreciated. I have no idea what is in these but as a single income family, we are getting drained by higher prices on everything.

  17. nTropywins says:

    TB some suggestion that there may be some viruses in that there zip file. I am sure you will take all due precautions.

    [Reply] Easy, I’m using linux to leaf through the archive now. 🙂

  18. Galvanize says:

    Oldbrew: Leo Hickman has kicked off nice and early. LOL

  19. Stephen Richards says:

    Roger. Don’t hesitate. Publish everything. These criminals deserve no quarter, no merci.

  20. tallbloke says:

    Stephen R: It’s a massive archive and it will take some time to work out timelines and some of the more cryptic references from adjacent contexts etc. This archive is unfiltered, and I won’t be publishing it en bloc regardless of unseen content. So some patience will be needed.

  21. Guardian headline: “Release of CRU Emails Fails to Disrupt Selection of New Pope”

  22. tallbloke says:

    >I do
    >find the dismissal of the Medieval Warm Period as a meaningful global event
    >to be grossly premature and probably wrong. Kind of like Mark Twain’s
    >commment that accounts of his death were greatly exaggerated.
    -Ed Cook-

    Lol. Suck it up Mikey

    Analyses like these by people who don’t know the field are useless.
    A good example is Naomi Oreskes work.
    -Tom Wigley-

    Multilolz. Chew on that you loathsome hag

    Great find Anthony. 🙂

  23. tchannon says:

    My word, that seems to be a spot of news.

  24. redcords says:

    TB both of those excerpts are in previous CG emails (0466 and 4027).

    [Reply] Still funny though. I’m working on a grepping and diff script to separate the CG1&2 mails from the unseen all.7z files.

  25. Niklas says:

    What’s in the readme file?

  26. dp says:

    Tallbloke – agrep, from the grep family, is your friend if the posts are not already in separate files.

  27. tallbloke says:

    Niklas: there is no README in the archive. FOIA’s covering email is published above.

  28. marchesarosa says:

    Hope this extra burden of IT work is not going to seriously impact your drinking time, Roger.

    See yer!

  29. Max™ says:

    ~$ cd /home/tallblokes/folder-with-the-emails
    ~$ find . -type f -print0 | xargs -0 grep ‘the truth’

  30. Max™ says:

    Which distro you running over there, I’ve been up all night poking at a new Lubuntu 12.10 setup and then I had the brilliant idea to check and see if my ram timing and whatnot could be kicked up for EVEN MORE SPEED!

    ….*sets all the options in the BIOS*

    *reboots excitedly*

    *computer laughs and tells me to slag off*

    Still, bumping the timing up is nice, though I lost my nvidia-settings dependency for conky, hence why i was playing with the grep/xargs stuff, which agian, started in my / directory, found the picture named “Shrike_3.jpg” in /home/max/documents in a couple minutes, and found several other “shrike” hits I had no idea were there, set it up to loop the outputs and spit that into a mkdir+mv loop is what I’d probably try, but I’ve no clue how well it would work out.

    [Reply] Suse-sparc

  31. Niklas says:

    Okay, thanks Roger. But there is a README (txt?) file in my version of all.7z at least, and I believe that we have the same version.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/nov/29/secret-message-hacked-climate-science-emails

    “Igor Pavlov, the Russian programmer who designed the popular 7-Zip compression software used by the perpetrator, has examined the encrypted file and confirmed that it includes another manually created README.txt file.

    “7-Zip doesn’t place files [inside folders] that were not specified by the user,” said Pavlov. The encrypted text file is very small – just 211 bytes in size – but is large enough to contain, say, a couple of sentences. By comparison, the README file made public by the perpetrator last week contained 3,607 words, totalling 24,576 bytes in size.”

  32. NikFromNYC says:

    A successful precursor to skeptical activism arose in the 90s when the Net was still all text and the Usenet group alt.security.pgp filled with libertarians who thwarted legislation that classified hard encryption as being banned under arms control statutes.

  33. tallbloke says:

    Nik: A successful precursor to skeptical activism arose in the 90s when the Net was still all text and the Usenet group alt.security.pgp filled with libertarians

    I always preferred uk.rec.sheds myself. A far more eclectic bunch of libertarians, drunks, gardeners and boffins.