Summary for Policymakers: The Connolley Problem

The latest news about efforts of Attorneys General using racketeering laws to prosecute “climate change deniers” is that their subpoena list of people and entities corresponding with Exxon matches a list of people and entities found at Greenpeace’s ExxonSecrets web site. Since I’ve spent the last 6+ years digging into the smear of skeptic climate scientists and who is behind the smear, I’m not surprised at all. Today I offer this post as a “Summary for Policymakers” regarding my series of seven prior blog posts about a smear effort which took place back in 2007 that is a case study for examining other prior and current industry corruption accusations against skeptic climate scientists.

You can’t beat the simplicity of the global warming issue: “1) The science is settled. 2) The few skeptic climate scientists out there are paid to lie about that by ‘big coal & oil’ interests.” Throw in a third talking point about “reporters and the public can ignore those skeptics because of reasons one and two,” and the whole situation becomes a work of propaganda art.

The truly annoying part about responding “no, here’s why that’s unsupportable” is the amount of work behind it. Each one of my seven posts about a 2007 formal complaint submitted to the UK Office of Communications over alleged television presentation regulations breaches by “The Great Global Warming Swindle” video was between 1200 and 1700 words in length, and I could have written much more. The complaint – much like any similar smear of skeptic climate scientists – is besieged with easily found errors and narrative contradictions readily apparent to any objective examiner. So, in brief descriptions, here are items having massive appearance problems in Dave Rado’s Ofcom complaint, coupled with what to look for in any similar complaint lodged against skeptic climate scientists.

Pt 1, “Call in the Cavalry”: When it comes to the mere presence of skeptic climate scientists, enviro-activists don’t actually attempt to first debate with them on scientific matters, they instead proceed on a preconceived notion that such skeptics are paid industry money to lie. Days before even viewing “The Great Global Warming Swindle”, as I show in pt. 1, Dave Rado, a person whose own self disclosure later told that he had no formal climate science expertise, was only too eager to vilify the skeptics in the program as liars. Ironically, Rado’s complaint relied on information from a web site who’s own co-founder expressed exactly the same lack of science expertise combined with a zeal to expose ‘lying skeptics’ via what amounts to a never-ending complaint – a spooky parallel that’s hard to miss in the fourth paragraph in my March 27, 2015 post about that co-founder. The wipeout is all-encompassing in these cases: how can someone accuse others of pushing false science assessments if you have neither the expertise to dispute the assessments nor the evidence to prove that industry and skeptic scientists collaborated to push material they both knew were lies? This where another fatal fault is within Rado’s complaint and others, they don’t first attempt to verify that the accusation they rely on is true. They simply call on or cite others to help them push the accusation.

Pt 2, “Connolley who?”: One of the bigger ironies about enviro-activists demanding full disclosure from skeptic climate scientists is the manner in which the enviros do not fully disclose information about their own people. In an ironic situation that also happens to be a nod to the next item below, Dave Rado’s current Ofcom complaint website is missing its original menu bar at the top of its pages. When you go to the Internet Archive version of the site, the menu bar is seen, allowing readers to peruse several tabs, among them being a fly-out for the “Timelines” of Rado’s complaint …. which he never bothers to disclose nor does he disclose what the process or inspiration for it was. Compare that to how Ross Gelbspan and Ozone Action say they obtained very damaging documents …. but never subsequently said who they obtained them from. The Sierra Club also apparently obtained those same leaked documents years earlier … but can’t seem to acknowledge even having any role in the event. At GelbspanFiles, that kind of thing is collected under the “Information Burial” category.

Pt 3, “A Time Span Problem”: In this case, people are supposed to believe without question that a massive complaint of between 66,000 and 70,400 words full of detailed material and web links was bashed out in 95 days or less by just three people, with help from contributors who likely wrote less than 10,000 of those words. Careful analysis of this situation and others like it – as in Ross Gelbspan’s own timeline for his conversion from being a ‘skeptic’ to that of corruption investigator – are ones which beg for further examination. The exercise in any of these kinds of situations is to collect all of the details and check for certain if they add up or line up right. At GelbspanFiles, I detail numerous other examples collected under the “Narrative Derailment” category.

Pt 4, “The Wunsch/RealClimate Thing”: In this instance, we are asked to believe that a common citizen, Dave Rado, outraged over lies in “The Great Global Warming Swindle”, somehow also knew one of the ‘seemingly skeptic’ scientists in the video had been hoodwinked to appear in it, and that the scientist this confirmed this via a direct email response regarding the inquiry Rado sent mere hours after watching the video. An email inquiry in which Rado addresses the scientist by his first name, and signs off as just “Dave”, and where it’s never suggested that this inquiry was not the first email Rado ever sent to the scientist. On top of that, the scientist’s response ended up in a major British newspaper just a couple of days later. The situation doesn’t appear to something that would be likely to have happened that way, much like the second half of the situation in the above-mentioned Gelbspan timeline situation, where he (as a private citizen whose only public appearance at that time in the matter was a solitary article he co-authored which briefly turned him into a skeptic) claimed an Assistant Attorney General allowed him to influence an official hearing in a major way.

Pt 5, “The Redundant Gelbspan/Lancaster Reference”: This post shows how Dave Rado’s Ofcom complaint contains a particular outright error regarding an industry name which supposedly has a corrupting association with a very prominent skeptic climate scientist. But it doesn’t end there, the error is not merely some random oversight, it instead sends curious investigators down a twisted trail to find out what its specific origins are … only to end up at a 1990s place run by a person who is seen in the latest 2016 efforts to demonize Exxon and any skeptic climate scientists who may have had an association with ‘big oil’ companies. And there’s more: In an effort to bolster the notion that the accusation in the Ofcom complaint is supported by more than one source, Rado cites the SourceWatch website, which itself cites the identical document that Rado cites. In the 6th paragraph at my December 11, 2014 post, I show how this can get taken to a comical “citation cascade” level over just one source.

Pt 6, “Lahsen’s Spice Girls”: This one illustrates the pitfall of repeating a widespread unsupportable talking point. Rather than establish that any kind of deliberate corrupting activity took place, it instead ends up pointing a huge finger back to the origins of the smear of skeptic climate scientists. At GelbspanFiles, this kind of thing is collected under the “Repeated Talking Points” category. One of the bigger blunders of this type was when the Union of Concerned Scientists decided to repeat the most prominent accusation line used by Ross Gelbspan and Al Gore as though it was a breaking news item. But when the UCS buried the fact that this ‘breaking news’ had been ‘discovered’ around 19 years earlier – widely quoted, but never shown to the public, it instead cast serious doubt about their own credibility.

Pt 7, “Cancerous Greenpeace / Desmogblog / Gelbspan Stuff”: What’s detailed in this post is how Dave Rado’s Ofcom complaint is first and foremost pushing absolutely nothing more than guilt-by-association “evidence” to indict skeptic climate scientists of industry-funded corruption, and secondly, how Rado, much like any other prominent accuser, is enslaved to an accusation narrative which ultimately relies on sources who repeat material which inevitably traces back to Ross Gelbspan and the clique of enviro-activists surrounding him when he and they got the first real media traction for the accusation. Among those is Kert Davies, the creator and long-time administrator of Greenpeace’s ExxonSecrets web site – the very same organization sharing a huge overlap of list names found in the March 15, 2016 subpoena to Exxon by the Virgin Islands Attorney General.

There’s basically two reasons why this long-time situation survives right up until today. First, skeptic scientists and organizations they associate with fight back against the notion of catastrophic man-caused global warming with mountains of science-based criticisms, but they basically have no extra time to address the corruption accusation beyond denying that any corruption exists. Second, we apparently have a mainstream media which could have done what those skeptics did not have the time to do, namely examine the accusation from every angle to see if it was above reproach. But the MSM has inexplicably chosen not to do so.

My elemental objective is to show how extensive time exclusively devoted to seeing where the accusation came from and whether it has any evidence to back it up reveals a disturbing pattern: Inconsistent narratives that don’t line up right; no hard evidence is ever presented proving such skeptics are in an orchestrated arrangement where they are paid industry money in exchange for fabricating false science assessments; and an overall set of talking points which is ultimately traceable to the clique of people surrounding Ross Gelbspan. Not only does this entire 20-year smear deserve a genuinely objective intensive look by mainstream media journalists, it may very well deserve investigations into it at the Federal level.