Friday, March 26, 2010

Dr. Rajendra Pachauri Criticizes Senator James Inhofe for Persecuting Climate Change Scientists

"I sincerely hope the world is not witnessing a new form of persecution of those who defy conventional ignorance and pay a terrible price for their scientifically valid beliefs."--Dr. Rajendra Kumar Pachauri

Rajendra Kumar Pachauri is the chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Today, the U. K. Guardian published an op-ed Dr. Pachauri wrote titled "Don't Hound the Climate Scientists" (3-26-10).

Dr. Pachauri criticizes climate change denialists in positions of power, such as Senator James Inhofe, for persecuting climate change scientists and accusing them of crimes. I agree with Dr. Pachauri: the political persecution of the climate scientists by the conspiracist Senator James Inhofe is despicable. The Senator is even demanding that the Justice Department investigate a list of scientists to see if they have committed research misconduct and crimes.

Senator Inhofe of Oklahoma is spearheading a vicious and mendacious campaign to intimidate and repress brilliant scientists who study global warming. The Senator, his political operatives, and other opponents of anthropogenic global warming---the tabloid U.K. Daily Mail, Fox News, Pravda, Libertarians, 9-11 "Truthers," and computer hackers (criminals)---are using a noxious slurry of dirty tricks, disinformation, manipulation of the media, and illegal activity to discredit and destroy climate scientists.

Senator Inhofe and other conspiracists in the denialist camp are depicting anthropogenic global warming as as a hoax perpetrated by scientists who are conspiring to steal our money and seize power.

Dr. Pachauri observes in the Guardian (3-26-10):

To dismiss the implications of climate change based on an error about the rate at which Himalayan glaciers are melting is an act of astonishing intellectual legerdemain. Yet this is what some doubters of climate change are claiming. But the reality is that our understanding of climate change is based on a vast and remarkably sound body of science – and is something we distort and trivialise at our peril...

Even more unfortunate is the effort of some in positions of power and responsibility to indict dedicated scientists as "climate criminals". I sincerely hope the world is not witnessing a new form of persecution of those who defy conventional ignorance and pay a terrible price for their scientifically valid beliefs. [See full text.]

According to an earlier article in the Guardian (3-1-10):

Climate scientists say Senator James Inhofe's call for a criminal investigation into American as well as British scientists who worked on the UN climate body's report or had communications with East Anglia's climate research unit represents an attempt to silence debate on the eve of new proposals for a climate change law.
Inhofe's document ends by naming 17 "key players" in the controversy about CRU's stolen emails, including the Britons Phil Jones and Keith Briffa.

"I think this is like a drag net, just to try and catch everyone whose name happens to be on this list. It's guilt by association and I thought those days were over 50 years ago," said Michael Oppenheimer, of Princeton University, who is on the list of 17 scientists. "It looks like a McCarthyite tactic: pull in anyone who had anything to do with anyone because they happened to converse with some by email, and threaten them with criminal activity."

Inhofe is also accused of further fuelling a spike in hate mail and politically motivated freedom of information requests in the three months since the emails of climate scientists were stolen from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit.

Rick Piltz, a former official in the US government climate science programme who now runs the Climate Science Watch website [here], said Inhofe and others were getting in the way of scientific work. "Scientists who are working in federal labs are being subjected to inquisitions coming from Congress," he said. "There is no question that this is an orchestrated campaign to intimidate scientists."

Michael Mann, a scientist at Penn State University who is on Inhofe's list of 17, said that he had seen a sharp rise in hostile email since November.

"Some of the emails make thinly veiled threats of violence against me and even my family, and law enforcement authorities have been made aware of the matter," he told the Guardian.

He said the attacks appeared to be a co-ordinated effort. "Some of them look cut-and-paste."...

Gavin Schmidt, a climate scientist at Nasa's Goddard Institute who is also on the list of 17, said he had seen an increase in freedom of information act requests. "In my previous six years I dealt with one FoIA request. In the last three months, we have had to deal with I think eight," he said. "These FoIAs are fishing expeditions for potentially embarrassing content but they are not FoIA requests for scientific information."

He said Inhofe's call for a criminal investigation created an atmosphere of intimidation. "The idea very clearly is to let it be known that should you be a scientist who speaks out in public then you will be intimidated, you will be harassed, and you will be threatened," he said. "The idea very clearly is to put a chilling effect on scientists speaking out in public and to tell others to keep their heads down. That kind of intimidation is very reminiscent of other periods in US history where people abused their position."

Other scientists on Inhofe's list of 17 admitted they were disturbed by the threat of criminal prosecution.

"I am worried about it, I have to say," said Raymond Bradley, director of the climate science research centre at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, who is also on the list of 17. "You can understand that this powerful person is using the power of his office to intimidate people and to harass people and you wonder whether you should have legal counsel. It is a very intimidating thing and that is the point."

Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican on the Senate's environment and public works committee, released a document last week suggesting scientists be investigated for breaking three laws and four government regulations.

The document, produced by members of Inhofe's staff, recycles now familiar sceptic arguments about the stolen emails from East Anglia and the mistakes in the IPCC report.

But climate scientists say the report takes the campaign to a new level by threatening criminal prosecution. The report calls for the inspector generals of all US government agencies touching on the environment to investigate the scientists as a first step to possible prosecution.

"The minority staff of the Senate committee on environment and public works believe the scientists involved violated fundamental ethical principles governing taxpayer-funded research and, in some cases, may have violated federal laws," the report says. [See full text.]

Britain's MET Office

Great Britain's weather service, the MET Office, is part of the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defense.

Wikipedia explains:

The Met Office (originally an abbreviation for Meteorological Office, but now the official name in itself), is the United Kingdom's national weather service, and a trading fund of the Ministry of Defence. Part of the Met Office headquarters at Exeter in Devon is the Met Office College, which handles the training for internal personnel and many forecasters from around the world. The current chief executive is John Hirst.

The MET Office has an interesting page devoted to climate science and a new article on "Climate change and human influence" (3-5-10).

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Climate Research Unit (CRU) Assessment Panel Announced

"It is certain that increased greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels and from land use change lead to a warming of climate, and it is very likely that these green house gases are the dominant cause of the global warming that has been taking place over the last 50 years."--The Royal Society, the national academy of science of the UK and the Commonwealth

Today the University of East Anglia made this announcement about its Climate Research Unit (CRU):

CRU Scientific Assessment Panel announced

Lord Oxburgh FRS, a former chair of the Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology, is to chair an independent Scientific Assessment Panel to examine important elements of the published science of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia.

His appointment has been made on the recommendation of the Royal Society, which has also been consulted on the choice of the six distinguished scientists who have been invited to be members of the panel.

The panel will have access to any publications or materials it requests, and all information considered will be listed in the Report. The University, in consultation with the Royal Society, has suggested that the panel looks in particular at key publications, from the body of CRU’s research referred to in the UEA submission to the Parliamentary Science and Technology Committee.

Announcing the appointment, Prof Trevor Davies, the University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, said: "CRU’s scientific papers have been examined by scientists from other institutions through the peer review process before being accepted for publication by international journals. We have no reason to question the effectiveness of this process. Nevertheless, given the concerns about climate research expressed by some in the media, we decided to augment the Muir Russell review with an independent assessment of CRU’s key publications in the areas which have been most subject to comment.

"We are delighted that a renowned scientist of the standing of Lord Oxburgh has agreed to chair this very strong independent panel and await its findings with great interest. Colleagues in CRU have committed themselves to providing any support required by the panel."

The panel members are: Prof Huw Davies, Professor of Physics at the Institute for Atmospheric & Climate Science at ETH Zürich; Prof Kerry Emanuel, Professor of Meteorology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Prof Lisa Graumlich, Director of the School of Natural Resources and the Environment at The University of Arizona; Prof David Hand, Professor of Statistics in the Department of Mathematics at Imperial College; Prof Herbert Huppert, Professor of Theoretical Geophysics at the University of Cambridge; and Prof Michael Kelly, Prince Philip Professor of Technology at the University of Cambridge.

“The shadow hanging over climate change and science more generally at present makes it a matter of urgency that we get on with this assessment. We will undertake this work and report as soon as possible,” said Lord Oxburgh.

The panel will meet in Norwich in April and will have the opportunity to see original data and speak to those who did the work. It comprises of scientists who use techniques similar to those used in CRU but who largely apply them to other areas of research, as well as those with experience in climate or related research.

Prof Davies said: “Our concern has been to bring together a distinguished group of independent scientists who understand the difference between assertion and evidence, and are familiar with using the latter to judge the validity of conclusions arising from science research. The panel members have the right mix of skills to understand the complex nature of climate research and the discipline-based expertise to scrutinise CRU’s research. How they do this will be entirely down to the panel.

“The choice of scientists is sure to be the subject of discussion, and experience would suggest that it is impossible to find a group of eminent scientists to look at this issue who are acceptable to every interest group which has expressed a view in the last few months. Similarly it is unlikely that a group of people who have the necessary experience to assess the science, but have formed no view of their own on global warming, could be found.

“We are grateful to the Royal Society for helping us to identify such a strong panel and to the members for dedicating their time to this important matter.”

Their report will be submitted to the Vice-Chancellor. His response, and the report itself, together with the list of publications assessed, will be published in full.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The BBC Interviews a Reformed Russian Hacker

"Four hours flight east of Moscow, the next generation of those graduates is in training.

In the snow-coated Siberian city of Tomsk, one in every five residents is a student. Information security is what they excel in. But in college corridors here, students talk of hacking with respect, even reverence."---BBC (3-11-10)

The BBC recently travelled to the Siberian university town of Tomsk, Russia, in order to interview young Tomsk hackers. I have written a number of articles suggesting that Tomsk hackers might have been involved in the hacking of the East Anglia University's Climate Research Unit (CRU). After I posted my articles, the British media also began to speculate about this possibility. Perhaps the BBC (3-11-10) is trying to learn more about Tomsk hackers because of the recent "Climategate" hacking scandal.

Some evidence suggests that young hackers based in Tomsk may not have been the culprits. According to technology editor Charles Arthur of the U.K. Guardian (2-5-10):

Analysis by the Guardian and digital forensics experts...suggests the access occurred over a period of days, if not weeks, and was carried out from a computer based on the east coast of north America.

...[S]omeone with clear hacking skills...grabbed the files [and] broke into the RealClimate blog to upload the archive and prepare a draft post; then, when that was thwarted, they uploaded it to a Russian website, and posted links to it on climate sceptics' blogs using web servers located in Saudi Arabia and Turkey. [See the full text of this interesting analysis.]

Hopefully, British investigators will soon track down the hacker.

The BBC (3-11-10) interviewed a former hacker named Yevgeny Kaspersky, whose Wikipedia says that he "graduated from the Institute of Cryptography, Telecommunications and Computer Science, an institute co-sponsored by the Russian Ministry of Defence and the KGB." I don't know where this school is, but FAPSI used to have a school like that in Voronezh. This school is called "the world's largest hacker school," according to Wikipedia. [See Kaspersky's blog.]

The BBC (3-11-10) observes:

Yevgeny Kaspersky describes Russia as a nation of "super hackers" and he should know.

Mr Kaspersky has made his name battling the world's cyber criminals. The computer security guru says hackers in China and Latin America generate the greatest number of cyber-attacks.

The most sophisticated come from his own country.

"Russian attacks look more professional. The malware and design is more complicated and more technical," Mr Kaspersky says.

"I think it's thanks to Russia's technical education. Its graduates are probably the best."

Four hours flight east of Moscow, the next generation of those graduates is in training.

In the snow-coated Siberian city of Tomsk, one in every five residents is a student. Information security is what they excel in. But in college corridors here, students talk of hacking with respect, even reverence.
"Hacking is an art, the art of breaking-in," Alexei says. "A true hacker strives to learn something new. It's the art of constantly achieving new heights of expertise."

The students don't learn this art directly in class. Alexei says his institute only "helps him in the right direction". But there are plenty of opportunities to hone your hacking skills on campus. [Full text.]

According to Russia expert Dr. Paul Goble (5-31-07):

The FSB (state security) and quite possibly elements within the Kremlin itself have been encouraging Russian “hacker-patriots” to launch denial of service attacks on websites that official Moscow does not like, according to a leading Russian investigative reporter who specializes on security issues...

Such arrangements provide the Russian government with plausible deniability while achieving the ends that its officials quite publicly indicate they seek.

In 2002, [Russian journalist Andrei] Soldatov notes, Tomsk students launched a denial of service attack at the “Kavkaz-Tsentr” portal, a site whose reports about Chechnya angered Russian officials. The FSB office in Tomsk put out a special press release saying that what the students had done was a legitimate “expression of their position as citizens, one worthy of respect.”

Over the next several years, Russian hackers attacked a variety of other sites...

Russia’s “hacker-patriots” have not limited themselves to attacks on websites linked to Chechnya or foreign states. They have also attacked extremist groups like the National Bolshevik Party, moderate opposition groups like “the Marc of Those Who Disagree,” and mainstream media outlets like “Kommersant” and “Ekho Moskvy.”

In all these cases, Soldatov suggests, the FSB with its Center for Information Security as well as the National Anti-Terrorist Committee did not have to use their own in-house resources to attack objectionable websites; they could simply point the growing community of “hacker-patriots” in the right direction...

[Soldatov observes] that “it is not excluded” that “certain groups of activists are being guided not by the special services but by the administration of the president”...[See full text.]

Introducing the Famous Climatologist James E. Hansen

This is a photo of the famous climatologist and activist James E. Hansen. Famous climatologists are being attacked by bloggers backed by powerful energy interests whose operatives claim that global warming is a scientific hoax and a government conspiracy to steal our money and seize more power. The Climate Research Unit (CRU) at Britain's East Anglia University was even hacked, and selected stolen e-mails were posted on a computer in Tomsk, Siberia and then onto the sites of denialist bloggers. [Search Tomsk, CRU, Climategate, Phil Jones on this site and scroll down.]

Climatologists are even being attacked by moronic conspiracists such as John Costella of the 9-11 Truth Movement. I am not a scientist, but even I can see that the climate change denialist politicians such as Senator Inhofe and denialist bloggers such as James Delingpole are shamelesly mischaracterizing what the climate scientists are saying.

The denialist sites often spread anti-government conspiracies about flu shots and the anthrax mailings that are reminiscent of the KGB's mendacious "AIDS Made in America" propaganda campaign. That campaign, which the KGB termed Operation INFEKTION, was probably mounted by KGB officers in Washington D.C. or New York City.

Here are some British and American scientific sites that discuss global warming.

The Royal Society
The Met Office
BBC Weather
Peter Sinclair: "Climate Denial Crock of the Week" (humorous videos that debunk denialist propaganda)
NASA's Climate Change Resource Reel
The National Academies' America's Climate Choices
NOAA Climate Services [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration]
Updating the Climate Science: What Path is the Real World Following? [Makiko Sato and James E. Hansen]

According to his Wikipedia:

James E. Hansen (born March 29, 1941) heads the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City, a part of the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, Earth Sciences Division. He has held this position since 1981. He is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University.

Dr. Hansen maintains a homepages at Columbia University and at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

His Columbia homepage notes:

Drs. Makiko Sato and James Hansen are constructing a webpage, Updating the Climate Science: What Path is the Real World Following? In addition to updating figures in [Hansen's] book Storms of My Grandchildren (see LA Times review), this page will present updated graphs and discussion of key quantities that help provide understanding of how climate change is developing and how effective or ineffective global actions are in affecting climate forcings and future climate change. A few errata in Storms are also provided on the "Update" webpage.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

DNA Fingerprint Act of 2005

“About 8 percent of the people commit about 70 percent of your crimes, so if you can get the majority of that community, you don’t have to do more than that.”---Mitch Morrissey, the Denver district attorney and an advocate for more expansive DNA sampling (NYT, "F.B.I. and States Vastly Expand DNA Databases," 4-18-09)

John Walsh, the host of "America's Most Wanted," recently interviewed President Obama and brought up the topic of giving DNA tests to people when they are arrested. The ACLU is against it, of course; they always defend the rights of criminals, not the victims. They claim they are concerned that DNA testing would invade people's privacy by giving the government information about people's health and genetic tendencies, although law enforcement DNA labs are not set up to do this. There are also very severe legal penalties for misusing DNA information.

I think collecting DNA from people when they are arrested is a good idea, but so far only the Federal Government and a few states give people DNA tests when they are arrested.

After his little son Adam was kidnapped and murdered in 1981, John Walsh became an advocate for child victims of violent crime; still, I don't see how expanding the FBI's Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) will help most children who are victims of habitual physical or sexual assault. Most children who are habitually victimized by criminals are not killed and know who their torturers are. [Read about the FBI's CODIS site.]

An article by Sarah B. Berson titled Debating DNA Collection in The National Institute of Justice Journal (#264) explains how the Federal Government and some states are implementing new DNA legislation:

The DNA Fingerprint Act of 2005 requires that, beginning January 1, 2009, any adult arrested for a federal crime provide a DNA sample.[2] The law also mandates DNA collection from persons detained under the authority of the United States who are not U.S. citizens or are not lawfully in the country.

Even before passage of the act, five states — California, Louisiana, Minnesota, Texas and Virginia — had statutes that mandated collecting DNA from people arrested for various qualifying offenses. Although some states limit preconviction DNA collection to violent offenses or sex crimes, other states include all felonies, and some extend the requirement to misdemeanors as well. States' legislation requiring preconviction
DNA collection varies. Variations include the types of crimes for which samples are collected, applicability of the law to juveniles and procedures for deleting profiles. Some state laws have faced Fourth Amendment challenges in court. [Full text]

Sunday, March 14, 2010

President Obama Interviewed by John Walsh of "America's Most Wanted"

President Obama was interviewed on Saturday, March 6, 2010, on “America’s Most Wanted” by the program's host John Walsh. The President discussed his views on violent and white-collar crime. Politico (2-9-10) reports:

The President expressed strong agreement as host John Walsh extolled the virtues of collecting DNA at the time of an arrest and putting it into a single, national database.

InterAcademy Council to Review Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

The National Academies bring together committees of experts in all areas of science and technology. These experts address critical national issues and give advice to the federal government and the public.

The National Academies is comprised of four organizations: the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council.

The National Academies reports:

In response to a request from Congress, the National Academies have launched America's Climate Choices, a suite of studies designed to inform and guide responses to climate change across the nation.

The National Academies has also just issued this press release:

March 10, 2010 -- The InterAcademy Council, a multinational body of science academies including the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, was asked today to conduct an independent review of the processes and procedures of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The review was requested by the United Nations secretary-general and the chair of the IPCC.

News Release
Remarks by IAC co-chair at UN
Video Webcast of UN Press Conference
IAC Web Site

The 9-11 Truth Movement: a Conspiracist Cult That Masquerades as Science

The 9-11 Truth movement is a cult whose adherents promote various pseudo-scientific conspiracy theories about the 9-11 terrorist attack, the anthrax mailings, the H1N1 flu, and so on.

The Truthers' conspiracy theories are a lot like the KGB's "AIDS made in America" propaganda campaign because these conspiracies all blame the government and its collaborating scientists for masterminding deliberate scientific hoaxes. The Truthers' pseudo-scientific canards remind me of "Scientific" Marxism-Leninism and Nazi anti-Semitism; both movements were conspiracist, pseudo-scientific cults that masqueraded as "science."

In 1987, members of the Soviet Academy of Sciences bravely distanced themselves from the KGB's AIDS propaganda campaign; and in 1992, KGB chief Primakov finally admitted that the KGB had spread the lie that the U.S. Army deliberately made AIDS to kill black people. The CIA has recently posted an unclassified study of the KGB's AIDS propaganda campaign, which was called "Operation INFEKTION." According to the study:

US-based KGB officers [probably] initiated the AIDS campaign, or at least collected the material that triggered the idea. The KGB had large residencies in New York City and Washington, DC, both of which were assigned officers who worked solely on active measures.

Recently, a mentally-ill man---who was reportedly inspired by these irresponsible and mendacious 9-11 Truther conspiracies---shot and wounded two policemen during rush-hour in the metro station that serves the Pentagon and was killed by return fire.

At a March 6-7, 2010 "Treason in America: 911, the Wars & Our Broken Constitution" Truther Conference, the Truther Sander Hicks laughably claimed to be a scientist (scroll to video), although his actual job is playing music in a church.

Hicks published lies about 9-11 that were fabricated by a cocaine dealer, pedophile, and child-pornographer named Delmart Vreeland, who is now in Colorado's Buena Vista Correctional Complex for 336 years to life. Vreeland's pathetic alibi was that the government was "framing him" with fabricated charges because he found out "the truth" about 9-11. It is not unheard of for con-men invent anti-government conspiracies so that they can claim that they are innocent whistle-blowers who are being framed.

It is very ironic that Sander Hicks accuses the U.S. government of complicity in the 9-11 bombings since Hicks is an apologist for James H. Hatfield, a career criminal who was convicted of soliciting the 1987 car-bombing of his supervisor Kay Burrow. Burrow's car exploded in the Dallas Cotton Exchange parking garage but fortunately did not kill Burrow or her passenger, the man who was going to replace the vengeful Hatfield, who was caught stealing from his employer.

When he was released on parole, Hatfield became the minor author of a book about the T.V. science-fiction series The X-Files, which depicted FBI agents Mulder and Scully chasing extraterrestrials. The show encouraged conspiracy theories and mistrust of government.

In 1999, when James Hatfield's new publisher St. Martin's Press found out that Hatfield was a career criminal, they recalled copies of his biography about first-time Presidential candidate George W. Bush. Micropublisher Hicks stepped in and offered to publish the bomber's book.

Hatfield's biography cited an unnamed source who claimed that Mr. Bush had been arrested in Texas with cocaine. The new forward to the republished book minimized the bombing by saying that "nobody liked" Kay Burrow.

The new forward also falsely claimed that Hatfield's employer, Larry Burke, had put Hatfield up to the bombing. Hatfield had already told this lie to federal investigators, but he refused to take a lie-detector test; however, Hatfield's employer Burke agreed to a lie-detector test and passed. Burke successfully sued Hicks and Hatfield for falsely accusing him of complicity in the car-bombing.

The dishonest James Hatfield had also self-published a James Bond novel titled The Killing Zone. The forward of the book falsely claimed that the novel was officially sanctioned by Glidrose Publications, who held the rights to the James Bond series.

The dishonest writer-criminal Hatfield killed himself with an overdose of medicine because he was about to be arrested for a computer crime. He was still on parole for the car bombing and would have returned to prison for life. Hatfield survives as a ghost named "Coby" who appears in a play Hicks authored about a Black Bloc anarchist (really Hicks) who orders a political candidate (really G.W. Bush) to take off his shirt so he can be hanged after a trial by a popular tribunal.

Some Truthers have seized on the so-called "Climategate" scandal (scroll down) and are now claiming that the science of global warming is nothing but a "hoax" being masterminded by the government and collaborating scientists to steal our money and seize more power. This conspiracy sounds like an updated version of Communist propaganda about the "capitalist conspiracy" or Nazi propaganda about the "Jewish conspiracy," only now the supposedly "dishonest" scientists are the Jews.

The truth is that climate change denialists have dishonestly misrepresented the research of climate scientists such as the head of the East Anglia University's Climate Research Unit, Phil Jones (scroll down), because the denialists can't argue honestly with what climate scientists such as Jones are really are writing. The "denialists" have even mischaracterised the content e-mail stolen from the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit and posted by unknown hackers on a server in Tomsk, Siberia.

The 9-11 Truther newspaper Rock Creek Free Press has posted an article by its editor Matt Sullivan titled "Climategate: Science Scandal of the Century: The World’s Most Influential Climate Scientists Get Caught “Fudging” the Data."

A Truther in Australia named John P. Costella has posted an article titled "Climategate-analysis." The article is part of a 9-11 conspiracy site called

John Costella is an aspiring actor, who posts a very vague CV on his star now page:

By day I'm a manager at a "Wall Street" firm up the Paris end of Collins Street. In previous lives I've been a Department of Defence engineer, a high school teacher, a video store clerk, a nuclear physicist, and a McDonald's manager. Weights at the gym keeps me in fair shape (the photos with an extra 20 kilos are pre-2005). Stranger hobbies include writing a book on Climategate, being an "expert" on the Zapruder film of the JFK assassination, and rewriting the Constitution for my book on the Republic. For some years I was a presenter on Radio for the Print Handicapped. I'm willing to try anything!

Why would I believe what this kind of person writes about a scientific topic?

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports that Senator Inhofe of Oklahoma also showcased his scientific ignorance before the entire world at the Copenhagen climate conference when he falsely claimed that a stolen e-mail posted on the server of Tomcity, reportedly an Internet security business in Tomsk, Russia, proved that climate scientists at the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (CRU) were trying to "hide the decline in temperatures."

Here are some short films that debunk climate change denialism.

The Independent Climate Change Email Review has posted the following links to British organizations that have information about weather and climate change:

The Royal Society
The Met Office
BBC Weather

People can also read about the science of climate change at these American scientific sites:

NASA's Climate Change Resource Reel
The National Academies' America's Climate Choices
NOAA Climate Services [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration]

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

John Patrick Bedell: Killer Truther

"Investigators were trying to unravel a bizarre series of Internet postings that suggested Bedell was fascinated with conspiracy theories, computer programming, libertarian economics and the science of warfare."---MSNBC (3-5-10)

A paranoid drug addict and 9-11 Truther, John Patrick Bedell, died in a hail of bullets on March 4, 2010, after he shot two policemen in the Pentagon metro station.

According to the U.K. Times (3-5-10), Bedell had extreme Libertarian political leanings, used drugs, and was interested in UFOs.

I think the 9-11 Truth Movement is a dangerous cult that attracts arrogant, drug-addicted, violence-prone loosers who peddle crack-pot scientific hoaxes. Probably Truthers will kill more people in the name of their moronic conspiracy theory.

Until he was sent to prison for 336 years, the infamous Truther Delmart Vreeland (scroll down) was even a cocaine dealer, pedophile and a child-pornographer. When the law was closing in, Vreeland came up with a ridiculous tall-tale about 9-11 so he could claim that he was a Navy "whistle-blower" who was being framed by the government with the cocaine-dealing, pedophilia and child-pornography charges. Some lunatic Truthers like Michael Ruppert and Sander Hicks spread the career criminal's ridiculous lies.

Here is an article and a video about a recent Truther meeting at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Jihad Jane indicted in Pennsylvania

"On or about March 22, 2009, defendant COLLEEN R. LAROSE, a/k/a 'Fatima LaRose,' a/k/a 'JihadJane,' sent an electronic communication to CC #3 stating, 'i agree that it is good i blend in'"---from the Indictment of Colleen R. LaRose

Today, the FBI issued this press release (3-9-10):

Pennsylvania Woman Indicted in Plot to Recruit Violent Jihadist Fighters and to Commit Murder Overseas

WASHINGTON—David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, and Michael L. Levy, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, together with Janice K. Fedarcyk, Special Agent-in-Charge of the FBI in Philadelphia, today announced the unsealing of an indictment charging Colleen R. LaRose, aka “Fatima LaRose,” aka “JihadJane,” with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, conspiracy to kill in a foreign country, making false statements to a government official, and attempted identity theft.

The indictment charges that LaRose (an American citizen born in 1963 who resides in Montgomery County, Pa.) and five unindicted co-conspirators (located in South Asia, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, and the United States) recruited men on the Internet to wage violent jihad in South Asia and Europe, and recruited women on the Internet who had passports and the ability to travel to and around Europe in support of violent jihad.

The indictment further charges that LaRose and her unindicted co-conspirators used the Internet to establish relationships with one another and to communicate regarding their plans, which included martyring themselves, soliciting funds for terrorists, soliciting passports, and avoiding travel restrictions (through the collection of passports and through marriage) in order to wage violent jihad. The indictment further charges that LaRose stole another individual’s U.S. passport and transferred or attempted to transfer it in an effort to facilitate an act of international terrorism.

In addition, according to the indictment, LaRose received a direct order to kill a citizen and resident of Sweden, and to do so in a way that would frighten “the whole Kufar [non-believer] world.” The indictment further charges that LaRose agreed to carry out her murder assignment, and that she and her co-conspirators discussed that her appearance and American citizenship would help her blend in while carrying out her plans. According to the indictment, LaRose traveled to Europe and tracked the intended target online in an effort to complete her task.

“Today’s indictment, which alleges that a woman from suburban America agreed to carry out murder overseas and to provide material support to terrorists, underscores the evolving nature of the threat we face,” said David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division. “I applaud the many agents, analysts, and prosecutors who worked on this important investigation.”

“This case shows the use terrorists can and do make of the Internet,” said U.S. Attorney Michael L. Levy. “Colleen LaRose and five other individuals scattered across the globe are alleged to have used the Internet to form a conspiracy to provide material support to terrorism, culminating in a direct order to LaRose to commit murder overseas. LaRose—an American citizen whose appearance was considered to be an asset because it allowed her to blend in—is charged with using the Internet to recruit violent jihadist fighters and supporters, and to solicit passports and funding. It demonstrates yet another very real danger lurking on the Internet. This case also demonstrates that terrorists are looking for Americans to join them in their cause, and it shatters any lingering thought that we can spot a terrorist based on appearance.”

“This case demonstrates that the FBI and our partners in the law enforcement and intelligence communities must continue to remain vigilant in the face of the threats that America faces, in whatever form those threats may present themselves or no matter how creative those who threaten us try to be,” said Special Agent-in-Charge Janice K. Fedarcyk of the Philadelphia Division of the FBI. “We must use all available technologies and techniques to root out potential threats and stop those who intend to harm us.”

If convicted of the charges against her, LaRose faces a potential sentence of life in prison and a $1 million fine.

This case was investigated by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. It is being prosecuted by Jennifer Arbittier Williams, Assistant U.S. Attorney from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and Matthew F. Blue, Trial Attorney from the Counterterrorism Section in the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

The public is reminded that an indictment is an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Pakistan Claims They Have Captured the Traitor Adam Gadahn

The AP (3-7-10) and other media are reporting that the Pakistanis claim they have captured the arrogant, American-born, English-speaking mouthpiece for al-Qaida, Adam Gadahn. The Justice Department has charged him with treason. More later, if this news is confirmed by our own government.

CBS (3-7-10) says this is a case of mistaken identity:

CBS News' Farhan Bokhari in Islamabad writes that earlier reports the detained individual was Gadahn proved false. According to a Pakistan security official who spoke with CBS News on condition of anonymity, the arrested individual is in fact "a Taliban militant leader who is known as Abu Yahya."...

The New York Times [here], sourcing American and Pakistani officials, reports that the man arrested was Abu Yahya Mujahdeen Al-Adam, and describes him as an al Qaeda commander who was born in Pennsylvania. [Full text]

The Coded Message in the Anthrax Letters

UPDATE: CNN (3-5-10) has posted a facinating article about the anthrax mailer Dr. Bruce Ivins and video of an interview with Jean Duley, Dr. Ivins's addiction counselor.
The retired computer expert Ed Lake has an excellent blog called Analyzing the Anthrax Attacks that follows the FBI's now-closed Amerithrax Investigation.

In the Thoughts and Comments section of his blog, Mr. Lake often takes on some of the "junk science" peddled by the FBI's critics. He has also posted a new article titled The Coded Message in the Media Letters (the "smoking gun") which explains how the FBI uncovered a secret code that Dr. Ivins put in his letters.

Dr. Ivin's secret code was based on a book and a magazine that the FBI saw Dr. Ivins throw in his trash in the middle of the night on 11-8-07 following a search of his home, office, and cars on 11-1-07. Criminals often try to throw away evidence that the police have missed during a search. The book was titled Godel, Escher, Bach - An Eternal Golden Braid by the Indiana University Cognitive Science professor Douglas Hofstadter. (See the Wikipedia entry on the book and the author.) The magazine Ivins threw in the trash was a 1992 issue of American Scientist Journal which contained an article about codons and secret messages titled "The Linguistics of DNA." The Wikipedia entry for the book explains:

In its February 19th, 2010 investigative summary on the 2001 anthrax attacks, the Federal Bureau of Investigation revealed that Bruce Edwards Ivins was inspired by GEB to hide secret codes based upon nucleotide sequences in the anthrax-laced letters he sent in September and October 2001[5]. He used bolded letters, as suggested on page 404 of the book.[6] He attempted to hide the book from investigators by throwing it in the trash.

Mr. Lake writes:

There is a coded message in the media letters which appears to be "smoking gun" evidence proving Dr. Ivins' guilt beyond any reasonable doubt.

However, The coded message itself is not the key to understanding the significance of this finding, it's the entirety of the circumstances and the details of how the person doing the encoding notifies the recipient that there is a code in the message. And there is also the fact that Dr. Ivins attempted to destroy the evidence that he knew this code and all the details about it. [See the full text.]

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Russian Global Warming Denialists

"Russia is in denial, ignoring a potentially disastrous 'methane bomb.'"

The evil, dishonest, vicious, shameless Senator James Inhofe, who probably feathers his nest in the cozy pockets of energy companies, intimidates and persecutes brilliant scientists who research global warming in order to silence them. The desperate and meretricious Senator Inhofe even tries to get the Justice Department to investigate the scientists for their so-called "crimes." The real crime is that Senator Inhofe sells himself just like a common prostitute.

Senator Inhofe reminds me of the dishonest and vicious Russian propagandists, who also intimidate and persecute Russian scientists whose discoveries threaten their interests. These days, many Soviet-era KGB officers have found a cozy nest in Russia's "natural monopoly," the natural gas giant Gazprom. This company is half-owned by the Russian government and half-owned by investors.

Unfortunately, the Russian people have a very weak government. Their government has basically been taken over by Gazprom and the ruling United Russia political party. Russia's current President Medvedev is the former Chairman of the Board of Gazprom, which also owns many Russian media companies. The former President Putin, who used to be a KGB officer, is the head of the United Russia political party.

I think this is why some powerful Russians, such as Senator Inhofe's Russian Cato Institute adviser Andrei Illarionov (who was formerly affiliated with Gazprom), now support the Libertarian ideology. The Libertarians warn their readers about the dangers of "big government" and "socialism." Libertarians pay hypocritical lip service to America's traditions of democracy, free enterprise, and capitalism, but I think that the Libertarians just want large unregulated corporations to coopt our government, too. Taking America back to the days of company towns and oil monopolies that Ida M. Tarbell exposed in her book The History of the Standard Oil Company, is not my idea of democracy. [See also this PBS article about Ida Tarbell.], citing a recent Reuters report from Marresale, Russia, reports that some Russian scientists are denying the evience that is right in front of their eyes. Perhaps Russian scientists are ignorant; but it is more probable that energy companies like Gazprom have tremendous power in Russia, and this fact makes some timid Russian scientists deny what is right before their eyes:

[O]n the Arctic Yamal peninsula...moist, dark permafrost entombed for 10,000 years crumbles into the sea at the top of the world.

Western scientists and environmentalists say collapsed river banks, rising tide waters and warmer winters in northwest Russia are clear signs of climate change, but they add Russia is in denial, ignoring a potentially disastrous "methane bomb."

At a state-run meteorological station at the Marresale port on the Kara Sea, around 500 km (311 miles) north of the Arctic Circle, its director said migrating geese arrived a month earlier than usual this year, in May, as temperatures rose.

Over the last six years that Alexander Chikmaryov has worked at the station, the sea coast has eroded by at least 2 meters (6.5 feet)...

...[A] string of recent reports warn of dire consequences from global warming...but for Chikmaryov, global warming does not exist: "Whoever made that ridiculous idea up spends too much time at home," said the 58-year old, surveying an exposed strip of permafrost from a mud bank that has collapsed, giving way to streamlets littered with goose skeletons.

Geographer Fyodr Romanenko of Moscow State University agreed there is no proof human activity has damaged the environment. The up to 4 degree Celsius (7 Fahrenheit) rise felt across parts of the Arctic in the last 30 years could be part of millennia-old fluctuating weather patterns, he said. Other researchers disagree, saying the frozen, sparsely populated Yamal region 2,000 km (1,250 miles) northeast of Moscow holding a quarter of the world's known gas reserves and home to the Nenets tribespeople, is testament to climate change.

According to a paper in the scientific journal Global Change Biology published this week by Bruce Forbes of Finland's Arctic Center, rising temperatures are making the Arctic tundra greener, adding significant growth of shrub willows over the last thirty years.


The world's largest country has a thick band of permafrost -- which contains organic matter whose microbes can emit the powerful greenhouse gas, methane -- stretching from Murmansk near Finland to the far eastern region of Chukotka near Alaska.

Environmentalists fear melting permafrost from rising temperatures will accelerate global warming.

"We are appealing to world leaders as this issue is overlooked in Russia...there is a carbon, or methane bomb embedded in our earth," Vladimir Chuprov, head of the Russian energy unit at environmental group Greenpeace, told Reuters.

He added that Russia -- which has permafrost covering 60 percent of its land -- most likely holds the world's biggest methane threat. By 2050, vast amounts of methane will "explode into the air" from Russia's melting permafrost, Chuprov said.

The United Nations panel of climate scientists says warming is happening faster in the Arctic than the global average. As reflective snow and ice retreats, it exposes darker ground and water that soaks up ever more heat.

"Methane emissions from tundra are likely to accelerate," it said in a 2007 report.
Ed Miliband, Britain's Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, said earlier this week in Moscow that it was in Russia's interest to reduce carbon emissions.

"Unchecked global warming will be bad for Russia," he told reporters. "There are 5,000 miles of rail track built on permafrost, which will crumble as a result of this melting."


So far, rich nations have offered emissions cuts averaging 11-15 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. Poor nations want cuts of at least 40 percent to avert the worst of climate change.

Russia, which along with the United States was accused by environmentalists of delaying Kyoto, has alarmed activists by saying it will release more greenhouse gases in 2020 than now under any new U.N. emissions treaty.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in June boasted his country would reduce emissions by 10-15 percent from 1990 levels by 2020. But in reality, this means a 30 percent rise from current levels since emissions tumbled after the collapse of the Soviet Union and its smokestack industries.

"We are so angry about this and completely oppose it," Greenpeace's Chuprov said. Almost all other industrialized nations are planning deep cuts from current levels. [See full text]

Thawing Permafrost Is Costing Russian Energy Firms Billions

"Greenpeace study author Sergei Kirpotin said that the greatest threat of the permafrost melt may be that it powerfully accelerates global warming by unlocking billions of tonnes of the potent greenhouse gas methane.

Methane is some 20 times more efficient than carbon dioxide in trapping solar heat, experts say.

'Before we saw marshlands just as wasteland but in recent years scientists have realized that the Siberian swamplands have a large climate-regulating role,' said Kirpotin, from the Tomsk State University in Siberia.

'It is like a methane bomb threat in our north....There is the feeling that this bomb figuratively speaking could explode.'", citing AFP (2009), citing AFP (11-20-09), reports:

Thawing permafrost caused by global warming is costing Russian energy firms billions of dollars annually in damage control and shrinking Russia's territory, Greenpeace warned in a new study Friday.

According to the report by the environmental watchdog, up to 55 billion roubles (1.9 billion dollars) a year is spent on repairs to infrastructure and pipelines damaged by changes in the permafrost in western Siberia.

'For Russia, the biggest threat of the permafrost melt is to oil and gas company infrastructure,' said Vladimir Chuprov, who heads Greenpeace's energy programme in Russia.

He said that the group had consulted with experts at gas giant Gazprom in writing its report, which detailed the destruction to infrastructure such as pipelines caused by rising temperatures and resulting melt water.

'These are people who see what is happening and are already feeling the economic consequences of it,' he told reporters in Moscow.

Russia's main raw export industries are spread across the Siberian permafrost, which makes up over 60 percent of its territory and includes 20 cities and several hundred thousand people.

The permafrost thaw has accelerated in recent years and Russia is now shrinking by 30 square kilometres (12 square miles) per year as icey territory disappears from the coastline, one of the authors of the report, Oleg Anisimov, warned.

'It's not only an economic and infrastructure problem but a geopolitical one. It means the loss of Russian territory,' said Anisimov, a senior researcher at the State Hydrological Institute in Saint Petersburg.

'It's a simple observable fact that in the last decade the coastline retreat has sped up by five or six times.'

Anisimov and other experts spoke defensively as many Russian establishment scientists do not believe in global warming. Some say Russia may even profit from better weather thanks to climate change.

Another Greenpeace study author Sergei Kirpotin said that the greatest threat of the permafrost melt may be that it powerfully accelerates global warming by unlocking billions of tonnes of the potent greenhouse gas methane.

Methane is some 20 times more efficient than carbon dioxide in trapping solar heat, experts say.

'Before we saw marshlands just as wasteland but in recent years scientists have realized that the Siberian swamplands have a large climate-regulating role,' said Kirpotin, from the Tomsk State University in Siberia.

'It is like a methane bomb threat in our north....There is the feeling that this bomb figuratively speaking could explode.'

In a complex cycle, permafrost melts at the edges of lakes that previously were iced over year-round, he explained.

Organic material -- the remains of rotted plants and long-dead animals -- then melt into the lake from the soil and decompose to form methane. With the thaw, the methane bubbles to the surface and is released into the atmosphere. [See full text.]