Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Climategate Hacking Scandal Link

Peter C. Glover

What links Climategate and the News of the World phone hacking scandal? Try Thursday’s arrest of Neil Wallis, former deputy editor of the recently defunct UK tabloid, and the man hired by Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson as his “personal media advisor”. The ‘relationship’ is currently the center of a media storm over potential collusion between the press and police. Wallis, however, also happens to be Managing Director of Outside Organisation, the same PR firm hired by the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU), a government-funded research group, tasked with carrying out “covert” activity after the leaked emails scandal broke.

Wallis’s other PR firm, Chamy Media, provided “strategic communication advice and support” to the Metropolitan Police between October 2009 and September 2010 while the Met’s Deputy Director of Public affairs was on “extended sick leave”. According to a report in the London Evening Standard (Friday 15 July), Chamy Media was struck off the company's register in May this year for “failing to file any documents since it was set up in 2009”. No doubt part due to the fact that he was busy running the highly lucrative Outside Organisation.

When the story of Wallis’s arrest broke on July 14, according to his Wikipedia profile, Outside’s web operator immediately removed Wallis’s “listing as MD and a part of his biography which had stated 'What he [Wallis] doesn’t know about journalism and media isn’t worth knowing'.”
Wallis’s partner at Outside, Alan Edwards, was himself profiled in
a story in Music Week last year. In it Edwards bragged:

“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”.
While Outside’s work with a litany of well-known celebrities including the Spice Girls, Amy Winehouse and David Beckham is extensive, Edwards intriguingly confided in the piece that Outside’s handling of the Climategate for CRU was “more covert”. Here’s the relevant excerpt:
“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 gave climate change skeptics ammunition and led to an avalanche of negative press about whether global warming was a real possibility.”
A key theme that my colleague at Energy Tribune, Michael Economides highlighted in our book
Energy and Climate Wars was the ‘Soprano family-like’ nature of the emails and the general lack of integrity and character they revealed; especially those of Michael ‘hockey stick’ Mann. Indeed, key historic climate data, on which UN IPCC climate alarm is based, has apparently been “dumped” by the CRU. Court litigation to retrieve other climate data is still ongoing. Now there’s a further revelation: that the University of East Anglia CRU team called in Wallis’s PR firm to help ‘place’ stories to counter the media storm. The question for CRU – a government-funded research unit – is how the anti-Climategate PR campaign was funded.

Dr Benny Peiser, Director of the UK Global Warming Policy Foundation was forthright telling me, “The CRU urgently needs to come clean. Those that run it need to explain why they hired a PR company, and whether they used public money to fund their campaign.” Dr Peiser added, “Further, the CRU needs to clarify exactly which news reports and which journalists were ultimately placed as a result.” Clearly, there are questions that remain to be answered by the University of East Anglia and its CRU team before Climategate – and its impact in the global debate – can finally be put to bed. Yet again, ‘covert’ practice geared to protecting individual reputations over transparency with publicly-owned data seems to be a hallmark of alarmist climate scientists.

According to the Met Police Commissioner, he and Wallis shared a total of eight meals together in the last year or so. That led one former News of the World source to comment to the
Evening Standard that there was indeed a culture of lavish meals and “champagne was de rigeur” under Wallis, and his then boss at the News of the World, Andy Coulson. Mildly amusing then to read Outside Organisation’s  “About us” page (sporting a casual and smiling Anthony Edwards pic) that advocates: “We decided that the days of the Filofax-carrying publicists, pouring Chardonnay down unsuspecting journalists’ throats, were a throwback to another era”.

Not according to London’s top cop it isn’t.

Hat tip to: Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit for this story.

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